NASA's InSight Lander has picked up the sounds of the wind on the Red Planet. The air vibrations were recorded on 1st December by two very sensitive sensors on board the InSight: an air pressure sensor and a seismometre.
This is the first time that any spacecraft on Mars has recorded the air vibrations on the planet. According to NASA, the seismometre picked up a low rumble which was caused by vibrations from the Martian wind. The wind was blowing from northwest to southeast with a speed between 5 to 7 metres a second.
The InSight mission team had not created any specific plan to capture the Martian wind sounds, and the "treat" came on its own, according to Bruce Banerdt, InSight principal investigator at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
"But one of the things our mission is dedicated to is measuring motion on Mars, and naturally that includes motion caused by sound waves," Banerdt said.
Two sensors, which recorded the sound of Martian winds, did so in different ways. The air pressure sensor recorded the vibrations directly, although they were at a much lower frequency not heard by humans. NASA scientists sped up these sound waves by a factor of 100 to raise the pitch by about six octaves.
The seismometre, on other hand, captured vibrations, which were created when the wind moved over InSight's solar panels.
The seismometre - part of the Auxiliary Payload Sensor Subsystem - is installed on the lander's deck. In a few weeks, InSight's robotic arm will deploy it on the Martian surface to measure vibrations passing through the interior of the planet.
After the seismometre is placed on the surface, it will be covered by a domed shield that will protect it from wind and temperature changes.
NASA InSight lander touched down on Elysium Planitia on 26th November, and since then, it has been trying to adapt to its new environment. The images and telemetry data sent by the spacecraft in the past 10 days suggest that it is functioning as intended. According to NASA, the lander is sitting in a shallow dust, slightly tilted at an angle of about four degrees.
InSight has also set a new record on Mars by generating 4,588 watts-hours of electrical power on its first full day on the planet. That amount of power is more than the power generated by any other vehicle in a single day on Mars.
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