NASA’s InSight lander on Mars has captured the low rumble of marsquakes and a symphony of other otherworldly sounds.
Scientists released an audio sampling Tuesday. The sounds had to be enhanced for humans to hear.
InSight’s seismometer has detected more than 100 events, but only 21 are considered strong marsquake candidates. The rest could be marsquakes — or something else. The French seismometer is so sensitive it can hear the Martian wind as well as movements by the lander’s robot arm and other mechanical “dinks and donks” as the team calls them.
“It’s been exciting, especially in the beginning, hearing the first vibrations from the lander,” said Imperial College London’s Constantinos Charalambous, who helped provide the audio recordings. “You’re imagining what’s really happening on Mars as InSight sits on the open landscape,” he added in a statement.
InSight arrived at Mars last November and recorded its first seismic rumbling in April.
A German drilling instrument, meanwhile, has been inactive for months. Scientists are trying to salvage the experiment to measure the planet’s internal temperature.
The so-called mole is meant to penetrate 16 feet (5 meters) beneath the Martian surface, but has managed barely 1 foot (30 centimeters). Researchers suspect the Martian sand isn’t providing the necessary friction for digging, causing the mole to helplessly bounce around rather than burrow deeper, and to form a wide pit around itself. (VOA)
Scientists are analysing the images taken under harsh light conditions by the NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) Camera of the area where the Vikram moon lander is likely to have touched down on the moon and it may be a while before they can locate it, project experts told IANS.
LRO project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Noah Petro, said on Wednesday that they were now analysing the images taken on Tuesday “and we will make a statement at some point when we can identify the lander.”
But he added, “It is important to remember that the illumination conditions right now where the lander may be are harsh.”
Therefore, it “could be difficult to identify right now (and it) may be a little longer before we have another opportunity to image the landing site next October 14” when the LRO next passes over that area of the moon.
The principal investigator for the LRO camera, Mark Robinson of Arizona State University, said that the last image of the area was acquired on Wednesday and will take time to analyse as there are “lots and lots and lots of pixels” to go through.
A NASA statement carried a note of caution saying that when the LRO flew over the Vikram landing the “local lunar time was near dusk; large shadows covered much of the area.”
The LROC “acquired images around the targeted landing site, but the exact location of the lander was not known so the lander may not be in the camera field of view,” NASA said.
“The LROC team will analyze these new images and compare them to previous images to see if the lander is visible (it may be in shadow or outside the imaged area),” it added.