NASA InSight lander hears special sounds on Martian surface
The sounds detected by a powerful sensor on NASA’s InSight lander is to help further the understanding of the interior of Mars.
A sensor on NASA’s InSight lander has detected sounds on the Martian surface that scientists think originated from Marsquakes.
Sent to explore the interiors of the red planet, the lander has the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS) sensometer, which sensed the sound waves on 22 May and 25 July. SEIS can detect sounds that are as light as a breeze.
The recorded sounds can be heard using the links provided below.
InSight, which landed on the Martian surface on November 26 2018, has detected several events till now.
The first detected quake, which occurred on the 175th day of the lander on Mars, had a magnitude of 3.7 om the SEIS. The second marsquake, on the 235th day, had an impact if 3.3.
How can these sounds help understand Mars?
Tracking how these seismic waves travel through the interior of the planet can help in revealing the deep inner structures of Mars. Scientists say that the crust of Mars is the mix of the Earth's and Moon's crust.
Inside the earth, for instance, a crack in the crust gets filled with new minerals with the help of water. This makes sound waves travel uninterrupted through the old fractures. On the other hand, on the moon, such fractures stay as they are and scatter sound waves.
Martian crust is more similar to the Moon. The sound coming from the crust keeps on ringing for minutes because of its scattering. On earth, the sound of earthquakes comes and goes within seconds.
One of the challenges in detecting these sounds is the noise coming from the robotics arms and wind gusts. Constantinos Charalambous, an InSight science team member says "It's been exciting, especially in the beginning, hearing the first vibrations from the lander, You're imagining what's really happening on Mars as InSight sits on the open landscape."
The first sound was detected in April but it contained a lot of high-frequency seismic signal. The InSight has detected upto 100 events till date and out of these 21 are expected to be quakes. Other too could be quakes but scientists are also looking at other possibilities.