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Mike's Blog: Listen to the sounds of Mars, courtesy of InSight

Dec. 8, 2018
NASA’s InSight Mars lander acquired this image using its robotic arm-mounted, Instrument Deployment Camera (IDC).
This image was acquired on December 7, 2018, Sol 10 where the local mean solar time for the image exposures was 11:34:04 AM. Each IDC image has a field of view of 45 x 45 degrees.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

By now, you should all know that NASA recently landed a new rover on the surface of Mars. The InSight rover—built by Lockheed Martin and managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)—touched down on Nov. 26 and is currently in the early stages of deploying its instruments that will eventually study the internal structure and rotation of the red planet.

It will take several months until InSight is able to start burrowing into the Martian surface for its primary mission, but interested parties were gifted something early on Friday when JPL posted a video to YouTube that included sound recordings from InSight from its seismometer and air pressure sensor, both which picked up vibrations from 10 to 15 mph winds as the blew across Mars’ Elysium Planitia on Dec. 1.

The video states the seismometer readings are in the range of human hearing, but are nearly all bass and difficult to hear on laptop speakers and mobile devices. Thus, JPL recommends listening to the audio on a sound system with a subwoofer, or through headphones. The air pressure sensor audio JPL provides has been sped up by a factor of 100 times to make them audible, while the full-length uncompressed .wav files can be heard at NASA.gov/sounds.

Here’s JPL’s video. Go ahead and listen to Mars:

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