NASA’s Insight Lander on Mars has captured a symphony of low-pitched masks and other other sounds.
Scientists released an audio sample on Tuesday. Humans had to amplify the sounds to be heard.
Insight’s seismometers have detected over 100 incidents, but only 21 are considered strong candidates. The rest may be marshcakes – or something else. The French seismometer is so sensitive that it can hear movements by the Martian wind as well as the lander’s robotic arm and other mechanical “dinks and dons” as the team calls them.
“It’s exciting, especially in the beginning, listening to the first vibration from the lander, which helped provide audio recordings,” said Constantinos Charalambos of Imperial College London. “You’re imagining what’s really happening on Mars as Insight sits on an open landscape,” he added in a statement.
InSight reached Mars last November and recorded its first seismic rumble in April.
A German drilling equipment, meanwhile, has been inactive for months. Scientists are trying to salvage experiments to measure the planet’s internal temperature.
The so-called Sesame Martian is meant to penetrate up to 16 feet (5 m) below the surface, but barely 1 ft (30 cm) has been managed. Researchers suspect that the sand of Mars is not providing the necessary friction for digging, causing the mole to bounce around rather than helplessly sink into the depths, and create a wide pit around itself.