Humanity has been provided with a recording of winds on Mars for the first time ever thanks to NASA’s newly deployed InSight rover. The vehicle arrived on Mars in November, successfully landing after months of travel to the Red Planet. NASA shared two copies of the wind recording, one as it was captured and another adjusted for playback on phones and laptops.
The NASA InSight rover features sensors that enable it to capture vibrations, which it did on December 1. “A haunting low rumble” was recorded by the rover, which detected the vibrations from wind blowing across its large solar panels. According to the space agency, the wind was blowing at between 10 and 15mph.
These are the first sounds of Martian wind humanity has ever acquired, a new milestone in NASA’s exploration of the Red Planet. The breeze was blowing from northwest to southeast, according to NASA, which explains that the winds were consistent with dust devil streaks that had been observed moving in that direction from orbit.
The InSight team hadn’t planned on capturing the wind sounds, calling it an “unplanned treat.” As well, this was something of a lucky acquisition, as NASA says it is the only part of InSight’s mission where these sounds could have been recorded passing over the rover. In the near future, InSight will place the seismometer tool used to detect the vibrations on the planet’s surface.
The wind sound can be heard on the video above. The first audio clip requires headphones or, ideally, a subwoofer to hear, NASA warns. Because most people won’t readily have access to these items, NASA also has included a higher frequency version of the clip that makes it audible when played on a laptop or smartphone’s speakers.