NASA’s new Mars robot just sent back some awesome photos

InSight is designed to study the interior of Mars like never before using seismology instruments to detect quakes and a self-hammering mole to measure heat escape from the planet's crust

NASA’s new Mars robot just sent back some awesome photos

NASA's InSight lander touched down on the Red Planet Nov. 26, and since its arrival, the robot has focused on acclimating to its new environment on Elysium Planitia. "When we looked at the direction of the lander vibrations coming from the solar panels, it matches the expected wind direction at our landing site".

"Capturing this audio was an unplanned treat", said InSight principal investigator Bruce Banerdt, according to NASA.

"In some sense, this is what it would sound like if you were sitting on the Insight lander on Mars".

An air pressure sensor and a seismometer recorded the noise through the vibrations in the air and vibrations around the aircraft "caused by the wind moving over the spacecraft's solar panels".

The first sounds ever recorded on Mars have been beamed back to Earth. "They do sound like the wind or maybe the ocean roaring in the background, but it also has kind of an unworldly feel to it".

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We've seen the surface of Mars, through pictures. NASA shared two copies of the wind recording, one as it was captured and another adjusted for playback on phones and laptops. "It's like InSight is cupping its ears and hearing the Mars wind beating on it", he said.

The sounds were recorded by an air pressure sensor inside the lander that's part of a weather station, as well as the seismometer on the deck of the spacecraft. Readings from the air pressure sensor have been sped up by a factor of 100 times to make them audible.

'The solar panels on the lander's sides are flawless acoustic receivers, ' Prof Pike said. In the near future, InSight will place the seismometer tool used to detect the vibrations on the planet's surface. It will explore the planet's deep interior and analyze seismic activity or "marsquakes". Those listening on a laptop or their phone might not be able to hear the original sound of the wind blowing across the lander's solar panels because the pitch is so low.

In the meantime, the sounds of the Martian wind are a poignant reminder of just how far InSight has flown: more than 300 million miles (480 million kilometers), becoming only the eighth spacecraft to successfully touch down on the Red Planet.

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