On December 1, 2018, NASA released the first ever audio recording from Mars!
“Capturing this audio was an unplanned treat,” Bruce Banerdt, of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said in a press release. “But one of the things [the InSight mission] is dedicated to is measuring motion on Mars, and naturally that includes motion caused by sound waves.”
NASA’s InSight lander touched down successfully on Mars on November 26th. The primary mission of the lander (which is not a rover) is to study the interior of Mars by drilling below the surface.
The goal is to analyze seismic activity and monitor for Marsquakes, which are Earthquakes, except on Mars.
The audio, in the clip below, is of Martian wind blowing over the rover at approximately 10 to 15 miles per hour (16 to 24 kilometers per hour):
“Hearing the first sounds ever recorded on the surface of another planet is a privilege. We have a great team, and we’re doing incredible things every day at NASA,” NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said.
It’s not the first time NASA has tried to capture audio on the Martian surface. The agency’s Mars Polar Lander was outfitted with a microphone, but that craft ultimately crashed into the planet in 1999 after shutting its engines off too early.
The Phoenix Lander managed to stick its landing in 2008, but NASA chose not to engage the craft’s camera or microphone after a mission malfunction.