One of the coolest things about NASA’s new InSight landlord who recently arrived at Mars is that it will be able to listen carefully to sounds generated underground. It has the potential to learn a lot about how Mars works. Before that, NASA has to prepare the robot to start using its powerful instruments. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory actually caught the sound of the whip over the dusty martian surface.
In a new video, JPL explains that the InSights seismometer on the boat began to detect vibrations. The team finally decided that the vibrations were the result of the wind encountering the robot’s solar panel matrix and causing them to shake. NASA recorded the vibrations and now you can listen to them yourself.
As the video explains, the pitch of the sound is extremely low and can barely be heard if you do not have headphones and the volume is turned up. A filter that raises the sound of the sound with two octaves makes it much easier to hear.
The result is a recording that sounds a bit like what you’re doing if you snatched your hands over your ears in a fast wind.
But NASA did not stay there. A separate instrument that measures the air pressure recorded the same windshield and sent them back to earth. The video also contains the recording, sped up and filtered so that it is easier to hear.
It’s quite cool to hear the wind from another planet, even though it sounds like the wind here on earth. It’s also a good demonstration of InSights capabilities, and a presentation of how powerful and sensitive its instruments really are. In the near future, JPL will command the robot to install its sensors on the ground around the base and then the real ball begins.