Pasadena: NASA’s InSight lander, which touched Mars just ten days ago, captured the first ever ‘sounds’ of wind on the Red Planet.
According to reports, InSight sensors captured a haunting low rumble caused by vibrations from the wind, estimated to be blowing between 10 to 15 mph (5 to 7 meters a second) on Dec. 1, from northwest to southeast. The winds were consistent with the direction of dust devil streaks in the landing area, which was observed from orbit.
The two instruments recorded the wind noise in different ways. The air pressure sensor, part of the Auxiliary Payload Sensor Subsystem (APSS), which will collect meteorological data, recorded these air vibrations directly.
The seismometer recorded lander vibrations caused by the wind moving over the spacecraft’s solar panels, which are each 7 feet (2.2 meters) in diameter and stick out from the sides of the lander like a giant pair of ears.
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.
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. It still will detect the lander’s movement, though channelled through the Martian surface.