Published: Sat, December 08, 2018
Science | By

New NASA lander captures 1st sounds of Martian wind

New NASA lander captures 1st sounds of Martian wind

The first sounds ever recorded on Mars have been beamed back to Earth.

It was just a couple of weeks ago that NASA's shiny new InSight lander successfully touched down on the Red Planet, sending cheers throughout NASA and the scientific community as a whole.

You can hear the audio in the video above.

InSight landed on Mars on November 26.

We know what Mars looks like, but there's a lot of mystery around what Mars sounds like. The ground had to be as flat as possible and the lander needed a bit of luck to avoid any large rocks that could have hampered its ability to work with its instruments. Instead, they're specially created to tackle an important scientific challenge: solving mysteries about the interior of Mars. The seismometer will be moved to the Martian surface in the coming weeks.

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

The latest release from the InSight team is truly a first, though!


Two very sensitive sensors on the spacecraft detected these wind vibrations: an air pressure sensor inside the lander and a seismometer sitting on the lander's deck, awaiting deployment by InSight's robotic arm. The air pressure sensor detected the air vibrations directly while the seismometer recorded vibrations caused by the Martian wind blowing across InSight's solar panels. As new Science Minister I am excited to see what more we can achieve on land and in outer space.

On December 1, InSight sensors captured a haunting low rumble caused by vibrations from the wind, estimated to be blowing between 10 to 15 miles per hour (16 to 24 kph). One has been included specifically to record the sound of a Martian landing for the first time.

"It really sounds otherworldly, and that is exactly what it is".

The sound of the wind is similar to what wind, or maybe crashing waves, would sound like on Earth.

But the scientists warned not to get too attached to these recordings, because they won't last long. It's like InSight is cupping its ears and hearing the Mars wind beating on it. "In some sense, this is what it would sound like if you were sitting on the InSight lander on Mars", Cornell University's Don Banfield told reporters.

Keep watching for more to come from InSight!

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