The strong gusts of wind, blowing between 10 to 15 miles per hour (5 to 7 meters a second), were captured as they moved over the solar panels on InSight, an unmanned lander that touched down on Earth's dusty, desolate neighbor November 26.
It's been almost two weeks since NASA successfully landed its InSIght lander on Mars and the craft is getting ready to start its important work on the planet. The very first time that humans have heard the sounds of the winds on Mars!
An air pressure sensor and a seismometer recorded the noise through the vibrations in the air and vibrations around the aircraft "caused by the wind moving over the spacecraft's solar panels". "We want to be sure that each operation that we perform on Mars is safe, so we set our safety monitors to be fairly sensitive initially". On Friday, NASA released audio of the Martian wind, the first time sound has been recorded on another planet's surface.
Nasa said that the air pressure sensor used to collect meteorological data recorded these air vibrations directly.
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"Capturing this audio was an unplanned treat", said InSight principal investigator, Bruce Banerdt. It will detect the lander's movement through the Mars surface, said NASA. That'll happen sooner rather than later, but at the moment NASA is teasing us all with some of the best images of the Martian landscape we've ever seen.
But an even clearer sound from Mars is to come.
The solar panels on the lander's sides are flawless acoustic receivers. It's like InSight is cupping its ears and hearing the Mars wind beating on it. In just a couple years, the British-built Mars 2020 rover is scheduled to land with two actual microphones on board.
The air pressure sensor inside the shield will be relocated as well, and the team will gather data at night, when it expects the wind will have died down and the lander itself will be making less noise.
The first image the lander sent back right after it made its successful landing was obstructed and hard to make out because the lens cap was still on the camera but with the cap off the photos are far more clear now.