NASA lander captures marsquakes and other Martian sounds, including wind

Pablo Tucker
October 4, 2019

Almost six months later, the lander has picked up more "peculiar sounds" on the Red Planet.

InSight was equipped with a very sensitive seismometer called the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS), which can pick up vibrations as subtle as a breeze.

In March this year, NASA's InSight Lander filmed and recorded audio of what a marsquake - an quake on Mars - sounds like.

NASA's Insight LANDER records odd sounds on Mars, scientists surprised: The search continues on Mars keeping all things in mind. You're not listening to the vibrations directly: the readings were of vibrations below audible frequencies. But the Red Planet didn't produce any sounds until April.

Unlike Earth, Mars might actually be an easier to place to find evidence of early life because it hasn't gone through the same constant upheaval of plate tectonic activity, which metamorphoses and even buries the oldest, life-bearing rocks. As heavy masses and slow cooling add stress to the crust, it breaks, releasing energy. The remainder could be marsquakes as well, but members of the InSight science team hasn't ruled out other causes. Mars' surface is similar to the Moon's and the seismic waves can long for a minute or so. "You're imagining what's really happening on Mars as InSight sits on the open landscape". During the day, sunlight warms the air and creates more wind interference than at night.

But nightfall comes with its own unique sounds.

While some are likely to be marsquakes, Martian wind and mechanical movements by the seismometer's arm, there was a symphony of mysterious noises described by the NASA team as "dinks and donks", complemented by an eerie whistling.

InSight, or Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, is a two-year mission to explore a part of Mars that we know the least about: its deep interior. Some of these include the sounds produced by earthquakes on the Red Planet, which are also known as marsquakes.

The suite of geophysical instruments on InSight sounds like a doctor's bag, giving Mars its first "checkup" since the planet formed.

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