"Capturing this audio was an unplanned treat".
These vibrations were detected by an ultra-sensitive seismometer developed in the United Kingdom and an air pressure sensor sitting on the lander's deck.
The Instrument Deployment Camera (IDC), located on the robotic arm of NASA's InSight lander, took this image of the Martian surface the day the spacecraft touched down on the Red Planet, and was relayed from InSight to Earth via NASA's Odyssey spacecraft, now orbiting Mars, on November 26, 2018. The low-frequency rumblings were collected by the InSight lander during its first week of operations at Mars. And now, the team behind the mission has turned the first bits of that data into an incredible new soundtrack, which you can hear in a new video, released today (Dec. 7). It is just unbelievable to hear the first ever sounds from Mars.
We know what Mars looks like, but there's a lot of mystery around what Mars sounds like. These vibrations were created by wind passing over the spacecraft's large solar arrays, NASA officials said. The seismometer recorded vibrations as the wind moved over the lander's solar panels, each of which is more than 2 metres in diameter and sticks out from the sides of the lander like a giant pair of ears. The air pressure sensor, part of the Auxiliary Payload Sensor Subsystem (APSS), which will collect meteorological data, recorded these air vibrations directly. Scientists estimate the wind was blowing between 10 and 15MPH. Maybe. Is there sound?
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But the scientists warned not to get too attached to these recordings, because they won't last long. NASA shared two copies of the wind recording, one as it was captured and another adjusted for playback on phones and laptops.
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.
This is the only time during the mission that the seismometer - called the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure, or SEIS - is capable of detecting these sounds. "We are really going to have an opportunity to understand the processes that control the early planetary formation".