Nasa releases ‘peculiar’ recordings from surface of Mars

Audio of 'dinks and donks' could help shed light on how Mars formed and evolved

Anthony Cuthbertson
Thursday 03 October 2019 18:57 BST
Nasa releases audio of recordings from surface of mars

Nasa has released a series of audio recordings from the surface of Mars, revealing weather patterns, seismic events and other unexplained phenomena.

The US space agency used a tool called a Seismic Experiment for Interior Stricture (SEIS) to capture the sounds of vibrations and weather systems on the Red Planet.

The dome-shaped instrument sits on the surface of Mars and uses wind pressure, temperature and magnetic sensors to assist the seismometer in detecting dust storms, meteorite impacts and even marsquakes.

“We’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time,” said Philippe Lognonne, a principal investigator at Nasa.

“It’s been 130 years since the first seismic record on Earth and almost 50 years since a seisometer was placed on the Moon during the Apollo program. What we learn from SEIS will shed light on how Mars formed and evolved.”

The SEIS instrument belongs to Nasa’s InSight robotic lander, which landed on Mars in November 2018.

Many of the sounds picked up by the tool could not be easily explained by Nasa scientists, with the space agency describing these phenomena as “peculiar”.

The NASA Martian lander InSight dedicated to investigating the deep interior of Mars has a dome-shaped seismometer attached [bottom left] 

Nicknamed “dinks and donks”, the sounds may be coming from parts within the seismometer itself, which expands and contracts when it heats up and cools down.

The recordings were made between March and July 2019 but have only just been released to the public through Nasa’s Soundcloud and YouTube channels.

Two recordings from 22 May and 25 July captured marsquakes with registered magnitudes of 3.7 and 3.3.

“It’s been exciting, especially in the beginning, hearing the first vibrations from the lander,” said Constantinos Charalambous, an InSight science team member at Imperial College London.

“You’re imagining what’s really happening on Mars as InSight sits on the open landscape.”

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