When the sensors pick up vibrations from InSight's solar panels, the whole spacecraft acts like a giant microphone. The first audio clip requires headphones or, ideally, a subwoofer to hear, NASA warns.
The space agency characterized the sounds of the Martian winds as "haunting low rumble caused by vibrations from the wind, estimated to be blowing between 10 to 15 miles per hour (5 to 7 meters a second)".
Because InSight's seismometer is created to measure seismic activity, the recorded sounds are near the lower edge of the human ear's sensitivity, around 50 Hz. In the near future, InSight will place the seismometer tool used to detect the vibrations on the planet's surface.
The Instrument Deployment Camera (IDC), located on the robotic arm of NASA's InSight lander, took this image of the Martian surface the day the spacecraft touched down on the Red Planet, and was relayed from InSight to Earth via NASA's Odyssey spacecraft, now orbiting Mars, on November 26, 2018. An air pressure sensor and seismometer detected the vibrations on December 1.
"Capturing this audio was an unplanned treat", said InSight principal investigator Bruce Banerdt, according to NASA.
Two sensors picked up the vibrations: an air pressure sensor inside the lander and a seismometer on the lander's deck, awaiting to be deployed to the surface by InSight's robotic arm. One has been included specifically to record the sound of a Martian landing for the first time.
"To me, the sounds are really unworldly", Banerdt said. Maybe. Is there sound? When InSight is conducting its science mission, the seismometer won't be able to hear the wind, attuned only to the grumblings of the planet's interior.
For now, it's recording vibrational data that scientists later will be able to use to cancel out noise from the lander when SEIS is on the surface, allowing them to detect better actual marsquakes. "What you're hearing now should get a lot quieter", Pike said.
The winds on Mars were reportedly consistent with the direction of dust devil streaks in the landing area, which were observed from orbit.
The NASA InSight lander, which is supported by the UK Space Agency, has recorded a haunting, low rumble caused by vibrations from the wind.