Hear the First Sounds from Mars Straight From NASA’s InSight Lander


They show off the lander, its components, and its surroundings, in clear detail, and these are just the beginning!

The solar panels on the lander's sides are flawless acoustic receivers.

During the first few weeks in its new home, InSight has been instructed to be extra careful, so anything unexpected will trigger what's called a fault.

The wind you hear in this recording is blowing at between 10 and 15 mph (5 to 7 meters per second) and originates from northwest of the lander, the scientists reported. Because wind gusts can trick the seismometer, the lander is equipped with an air pressure sensor to isolate that background noise.

"Personally, listening to the sounds form the pressure sensor, reminds me of sitting outside on a windy summer afternoon, listening to the turbulent gusts come and go and whistle through your ears", said Don Banfield, a researcher at Cornell University. "We want to be sure that each operation that we perform on Mars is safe, so we set our safety monitors to be fairly sensitive initially". The scheduled Mars 2020 Rover will have on board microphones for the goal of recording the sound of the landing.

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We know what Mars looks like, but there's a lot of mystery around what Mars sounds like.

"Capturing this audio was an unplanned treat", said InSight principal investigator Bruce Banerdt, according to NASA. "But one of the things [the InSight mission] is dedicated to is measuring motion on Mars, and naturally that includes motion caused by sound waves". According to the Tweet, sensors in InSight's seismometer and weather instrument captured vibrations from martian wind hitting the lander on December 1. On Friday, NASA released audio of the Martian wind, the first time sound has been recorded on another planet's surface.

In the video posted on Twitter, NASA said mission engineers will eventually move the seismometer off the lander and onto the ground. The Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS), the seismometer, will use the vibrations to help scientists configure more about the planet's interior.

What's even more exciting about InSight's fascinating discovery is that the NASA team were not even planning on capturing the previously unheard wind. It will still detect the lander's movement, though channeled through the Martian surface.