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NASA's InSight lander 'hears' wind on Mars

AFP  |  Tampa 

Humans can now hear the haunting, low rumble of wind on for the first time, after NASA's captured vibrations from the breeze on the Red Planet, the US space agency said Friday.

The strong gusts of wind, blowing between 10 to 15 mph (five to seven meters a second), were captured as they moved over the solar panels on InSight, an unmanned that touched down on Earth's dusty, desolate neighbor November 26.

Two sensors picked up the vibrations: an air pressure sensor inside the and a seismometer on the lander's deck, awaiting to be deployed to the surface by InSight's robotic arm.

"This is the very first fifteen minutes of data that have come from the short period seismometer," said Thomas Pike, at London, during a conference call with reporters.

"It's a little like a flag waving in the wind," he added.

"It really sounds otherworldly, and that is exactly what it is." is designed to study the interior of like never before, using seismology instruments to detect quakes and a self-hammering mole to measure heat escape from the planet's crust.

Sensing the wind, which moved from northwest to southeast at around 5 pm local time, was "an unplanned treat," said Bruce Banerdt, at in Pasadena,

NASA's Viking 1 and 2 landers also picked up signals of the Martian wind when they landed in 1976.

They were measuring it at lower sampling rates, however, not frequencies that would be audible, and did not return sounds that people could listen to.

"Personally, listening to the sounds form the pressure sensor, reminds me of sitting outside on a windy summer afternoon, listening to the turbulent gusts come and go and whistle through your ears," said Don Banfield, a at

"In some sense, this is what it would sound like if you were sitting on the Insight lander on " An audio track of the Martian wind is available on

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, December 08 2018. 04:41 IST
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