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NASA’s InSight Lander Captures Low Rumble of Marsquakes and Symphony of Other Otherworldly Sounds

Scientists released an audio sampling Tuesday. The sounds had to be enhanced for humans to hear

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NASA, Marsquakes, Symphony
This April 25, 2019 photo made available by NASA shows the InSight lander's dome-covered seismometer on Mars. On Oct. 1, 2019, scientists released an audio sampling of marsquakes and other sounds recorded by the probe. VOA

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.

NASA, Marsquakes, Symphony
NASA’s InSight lander on Mars has captured the low rumble of marsquakes and a symphony of other otherworldly sounds. Pixabay

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.

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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)

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Scientists Analysing Images Taken by NASA of Vikram Moon Lander

Therefore, it could be difficult to identify right now (and it) may be a little longer before we have another opportunity

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Scientists, Images, NASA
But he added, "It is important to remember that the illumination conditions right now where the lander may be are harsh." Pixabay

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.

Scientists, Images, NASA
Scientists are analysing the images taken under harsh light conditions by the NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) Camera of the area. Pixabay

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.

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Vikram lost contact with the Indian Space Research Organisation after it was launched by the Chandraayan 2 moon orbiter to touch down in the area of the moon’s south pole on September 6.

After following the intended trajectory, it deviated in the final moments during the last two kilometres of the descent and went silent.

Vikram carried a rover called Pragyan that was to have conducted experiments on the moon’s surface.

Aviation Week created some confusion on Wednesday with an erroneous headline, “NASA’s LRO fails to spot Chandraayan 2 Lander,” which was picked up by others.

Scientists, Images, NASA
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 . Pixabay

Both the scientists IANS spoke to said the headline was wrong.

Robinson said: “They are rather astonishing because we haven’t had the images to look at yet. I don’t know where that came from.”

Petro said, “The headline is wrong. That was actually posted even before we had the data on the ground.”

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The publication later changed the headline to “NASA’s LRO Begins Search For Silent Chandrayaan-2 Lander.” (IANS)