In a few weeks, it will be placed on the Martian surface by InSight's robotic arm, then covered by a domed shield to protect it from wind and temperature changes. InSight's seismometer and air pressure sensor detected the vibrations from the Martian wind earlier this month.
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.
A second track is a little easier to hear since NASA processed it to make more audible. But this is the first time we've ever heard what Mars sounds like.
But an even clearer sound from Mars is to come.
But for InSight's first mixtape, none of the lander's instruments have been deployed. This sensor recorded the vibrations directly while the seismometer recorded the vibrations of the movement the wind caused in the solar panels.
InSight's seismometer and another sensor picked up the noise, and it was not planned.
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"Humans are multisensor people, and now we have two of our sensors turned on with this mission", with both audio and visual data streaming back to Earth, Don Banfield, the science lead for the air pressure sensor, said during the news conference.
Scientists estimated the northwest wind to be 10-15 miles per hour. The sample includes data gathered during the first 15 minutes that the sensors were recording.
The InSight team hadn't planned on capturing the wind sounds, calling it an "unplanned treat".
This is the only phase of the mission during which the seismometer, called the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS), will be capable of detecting vibrations generated directly by the lander. That lander is scheduled to arrive on Mars in two years and will have microphones on board to record direct sounds, including the sound of the landing. "What you're hearing now should get a lot quieter", Pike said.
Thomas Pike of Imperial College London said the rumbling is "rather different to anything that we've experienced on Earth, and I think it just gives us another way of thinking about how far away we are getting these signals".