OUT OF THIS WORLD | What's New in Space – The Biggest News Coming to Earth from Space
Meteorologist / Science Writer
Friday, December 7, 2018, 5:19 p.m. – Want to hear something incredible? Be one of the first people to hear the winds on Mars thanks to NASA's new InSight module!
It's been less than two weeks since InSight landed on the surface of the Red Planet, but it's already sending incredible things for us to marvel at.
Of course, the images already transmitted are great! They show the lander, its components and its surroundings, in clear details, and these are just the beginning!
NASA InSight took this raw photo using its arm-mounted instrument deployment camera. The upper probe arm, its 2.2m wide solar panel, one of the TWINS temperature and wind sensors (left of center), its UHF antenna (lower center), its SEIS (lower) left) and the white dome (center left) currently covers its pressure sensor. Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech
The latest version of the InSight team is really the first! The first time humans heard the sounds of the winds on Mars!
The clip has only 20 seconds, but it's worth it! Listen below!
This thunderous noise was the vibrations caused by the wind flowing over InSight's solar panels, which were recorded by the rig's sensing seismograph. Below is what InSight's weather station recorded – specifically the low-frequency infra-red detected by its atmospheric pressure sensor.
The vibrations were shifted to audible human reach, and sped up so we could understand them, but it actually sounds as if you were sitting on the deck of the ship, listening to the winds whistle through your ears!
We saw the surface of Mars through photos. We even touched pieces of Mars, because we found Martian meteorites here on Earth. We examined the Mars atmosphere with landers, rovers and satellites.
We were never able to hear the sounds of the wind on Mars, however. Wow!!
"Capturing this audio was an unplanned treatment," said InSight lead researcher Bruce Banerdt, according to NASA. "But one of the things our mission is dedicated to is measuring motion on Mars and, of course, that includes movement caused by sound waves."
According to NASA:
Two very sensitive sensors on the spacecraft detected these wind vibrations: an air pressure sensor inside the landing module and a seismograph sitting on the deck of the ship, awaiting deployment by InSight's robotic arm. The two instruments recorded the wind noise in different ways. The air pressure sensor, part of the Auxiliary Payload Subsystem (APSS), which will collect meteorological data, has recorded these air vibrations directly. The seismograph recorded the vibrations of the lander caused by the wind that moved on the solar panels of the spacecraft, which are 2.2 meters in diameter and stand out from the sides of the probe as a pair of giant ears.
This is the only phase of the mission during which the seismograph, called the Seismic Experiment for the Interior Structure (SEIS), will be able to detect the vibrations generated directly by the probe. In a few weeks, it will be placed on the Martian surface by InSight's robotic arm, then covered by a vaulted shield to protect it from changes in wind and temperature. It will still detect the movement of the lander, though channeled through the Martian surface. For now, it is recording vibrational data that scientists can use to counteract probe noise when the SIX is on the surface, allowing them to detect better real marsquakes.
Keep watching for more information about InSight!
Sources: NASA InSight | NASA
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