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NASA’s new Mars robot just sent back some awesome photos

10 December 2018

The sounds released include data from InSight's seismometer of vibrations caused by wind moving over the lander's solar panels and from the lander's air presser sensor.

InSight landed safely at Elysium Planitia on Mars on November 26, kicking off a two-year mission to explore the deep interior of the Red Planet.

"Capturing this audio was an unplanned treat".

To get high-quality data from the incredibly sensitive seismometer onboard the lander, the team needs to be able to cancel out all the commotion coming from the Martian surface, looking only at signals coming from inside the planet.

So, the spacecraft recorded vibrations of the wind speed which ranged from 16 to 24 kilometers per hour. "It's going to become very hard to hear the sounds from the outside of Mars later on".

So that people could hear the Martian wind on their mobile devices and laptops, NASA increased the original sound two octaves. The air pressure sensor recorded the vibrations directly from changes in the air.

Tom Spike, a scientist who is also working behind the project, explained that InSight is the first Martian probe that can detect in frequencies that human ears can hear.

Nearly 10 days ago, NASA's new Mars lander had touched down the Mars' surface.

The solar panels on the lander's sides are ideal acoustic receivers. A rock can be seen near the lower edge of the picture, near a footpad visible at lower right corner.

These vibrations were detected by an ultra-sensitive seismometer developed in the United Kingdom and an air pressure sensor sitting on the lander's deck. According to the NASA site, "When earthquakes occur on Earth, their vibrations, which bounce around inside our planet, make it "ring" similar to how a bell creates sound".

Less than two weeks into the InSight Mission, UK science is already uncovering incredible things about Mars.

The photo is one of many that came back from Mars this week showing the planet and the craft itself. The scheduled Mars 2020 Rover will have on board microphones for the objective of recording the sound of the landing. A second will be able to detect the sound of the instrument's laser as it zaps different materials.

NASA’s new Mars robot just sent back some awesome photos