NASA’s InSight lander captured the ‘bloop’ sound of a meteor falling to Mars

NASA’s InSight lander captured the ‘bloop’ sound of a meteor falling to Mars

nasa mars lander insight

This illustration shows NASA’s InSight spacecraft deploying its instruments on the Martian surface.NASA/JPL-Caltech

  • NASA shared the sound of a meteor falling to Mars, along with photos of the impact craters, on Monday.

  • The inSight lander has detected the acoustic and seismic noise of four meteor impacts.

  • Hear the surprising “bloop” of a space rock falling through the atmosphere of Mars and crashing.

No one had ever heard the sound of a meteor crashing into another planet until NASA’s InSight lander recorded the seismic waves of a space rock hitting Mars.

On September 5, 2021, a rock hurtling through space crossed the path of the red planet. The meteor shot toward the dusty orange surface of the planet, sending shockwaves through the atmosphere.

Although it could have burned up from friction and heat plowing through Earth’s atmosphere, the meteor survived the thin Martian air. It split into at least three pieces, which crashed into the planet’s surface and made a crater.

The InSight lander’s seismometer, designed to measure Mars’ tremors and dust devils, was sensitive enough to detect the acoustic impact of the shock wave hitting the ground as well as the seismic waves from the meteor landing. NASA shared audio of the entire event on Monday. Listen below.

“Strangely, it’s more like a ‘bloop’ than a ‘bam!'” science writer Corey Powell said on Twitter.

NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, a satellite orbiting the planet, later captured images of the impact craters from the meteor.

gray planet surface with pink arrows pointing to three dark blast zones of increasing size

Craters formed by a meteoroid impact on Mars on September 5, 2021. Enhanced blue color highlights the dust and soil disturbed by the impact.NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

“After three years of InSight waiting to detect an impact, those craters looked beautiful,” said Ingrid Daubar, a Mars impact specialist at Brown University, in a NASA press release.

Since then, scientists have combed through previous InSight data and confirmed three other meteor impacts that occurred during 2020 and 2021, between 53 and 180 miles away from the lander. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter later imaged the impact craters from those meteors as well.

collage of three impact craters highlighted in blue on mars

A collage of three other meteoroid impacts detected by the InSight seismometer and captured by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

Details of the four Mars meteor strikes were published in a paper in Nature Geosciences on Monday.

Because the effects were so small that scientists initially ignored them, the study’s authors suspect that other meteor impacts may have been hidden in the past four years of seismometer data, lost in the seismic noise of wind gusts, according to the press release.

InSight is nearing the end of its life

lander solar panel view split image clean panel left right dust covered

Solar array on NASA’s InSight Mars landers in December 2018 (left) and June 2021 (right).NASA/JPL-Caltech

These are the first meteor impacts observed by InSight since it landed on Mars in 2018. The lander’s powerful seismometer has detected more than 1,300 Mars quakes, revealing that the planet has a molten core and a thin, fragmented crust. like the crust of the moon. InSight has collected seismic rumbles of dust devils and collected weather data.

The robot is running out of time, though. His landing spot on the vast plain of Elysium Planitia was surprisingly not windy. NASA typically relies on gusts of wind to blow pervasive Martian dust off the solar panels of its robots. InSight has seen very few such cleanup events.

The lander’s ability to generate power has slowly decreased due to the amount of dust. In 2018, its battery charge was enough to run an electric oven for an hour and 40 minutes. These days, he could only run such an oven for 10 minutes, mission manager Kathya Zamora Garcia said in a press conference in May.

As of Monday, according to the press release, NASA engineers believe that the lander could run out of power and stop completely sometime between October 2022 and January 2023.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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