LISTEN: Wind Sound on Mars: NASA's InSight Sends Never Before Heard Audio Back to Earth

The sound of wind is easily recognizable to most people on Earth, but for the first time the sound of wind on Mars has been released. The newest resident of the red planet, NASA's InSight, sent back audio of the vibrations produced by the wind on Mars. 

The audio was captured December 1 by two sensors on InSight, and the wind was estimated to have been moving about 10 to 15 miles per hour at the time the vibrations were captured. Additionally, NASA reported that the winds were likely blowing from the northwest in the direction of the southeast, the way the streaks in the landing area seem to move as well. 

The sound of the wind is similar to what wind, or maybe crashing waves, would sound like on Earth. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine shared a video about the new audio on Twitter Friday. 

Listen to the first recording of wind from Mars:

InSight's seismometer captured the vibrations. Those listening on their laptops or phones might not be able to hear the original sound of the wind blowing across the lander's solar panels, because the pitch is so low. While the vibrations are in the range of human hearing capabilities, according to NASA, they're easiest to hear through headphones or subwoofers.  

NASA increased the pitch of the audio by two octaves for those who couldn't hear the original, and for those listening on laptops or phones.

The craft's air pressure sensor recorded the winds as well, according to NASA, and that audio was increased by a factor of 100 so that it was audible. This sensor recorded the vibrations directly while the seismometer recorded the vibrations of the movement the wind caused in the solar panels. 

"Capturing this audio was an unplanned treat. But one of the things our mission is dedicated to is measuring motion on Mars, and naturally, that includes motion caused by sound waves," said Bruce Banerdt, the principal investigator. 

There are more plans to record sounds on Mars with the 2002 lander project. That lander is scheduled to arrive on Mars in two years and will have microphones onboard to record direct sounds, including the sound of the landing. 

mars insight Image from NASA's InSight showing the surface of Mars. NASA's InSight sent back audio of the vibrations produced by the wind on Mars.  NASA/JPL-Caltech

Join the Discussion

Editor's Pick