For the first time in human history, earthlings can now hear the sound of Mars. On an alien world more than 34 million miles away, wind sweeps across a red, desolate landscape, and a brave robot is there to record it and play it back to us.
Ten days after arriving on Mars, the InSight lander has sent back the first-ever audio recording from the red planet. The short audio file was captured purely by chance and reveals the eerie hum of the Martian wind; “a haunting low rumble caused by vibrations” in the air.
Released by NASA earlier today, the recording was made public in both raw audio sample and a slightly modified version that is more perceptible to the human ear.
According to the space agency, the sound of Mars was recorded on December 1, when two highly sensitive instruments aboard the InSight lander picked up vibrations coming from the wind as it blew across Elysium Planitia at 10 to 15 miles per hour.
The wind vibrations were recorded by the probe’s air pressure sensor and its SEIS seismometer, each of the two instruments detecting the martian wind in a different way. The result is an unforgettable soundtrack that brings a little bit of Mars back to Earth.
“Capturing this audio was an unplanned treat,” said Bruce Banerdt, InSight principal investigator at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “But one of the things our mission is dedicated to is measuring motion on Mars, and naturally that includes motion caused by sound waves.”
As the Inquisitr reported earlier today, InSight’s air pressure sensor has been scanning the martian environment for about a week and had already detected a drop in air pressure that was put down to a passing dust devil.
Part of the spacecraft’s Auxiliary Payload Sensor Subsystem, this instrument is tasked with gathering meteorological data at the InSight landing site. While listening to the thin martian air to detect any minute change in pressure, the sensor picked up the wind noise directly from the atmosphere.
The recording below is a modified version of the sensor’s data. Since the original soundtrack was below the range of human hearing, the audio was sped up by a factor of 100, which shortened the track’s duration and shifted up its frequency 100 times, or a little more than six octaves.
A more audible version of the SEIS recording, which was raised two octaves, can be heard at the link below.