The sound of a meteor hitting Mars has been captured by NASA’s InSight lander, the first time seismic signals from a meteorite impact on another planet have been detected.
The InSight Lander was sent to Mars in 2018 to discover so-called “swamps,” in this case the seismic activity that occurs beneath the Red Planet’s surface. But the highly sensitive detector also caught a meteorite hitting the surface of Mars last year, and you can hear it in the video below.
A new research paper published this week in Nature Geoscience reports on the impact on September 5, 2021.
In fact, there were three separate strikes, in which the space rock exploded into three pieces when it collided with the Martian atmosphere.
According to the data, meteorites hit the surface of Mars between 53 and 180 miles (85 and 290 kilometers) from the InSight site.
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which oversees the InSight mission, said the sound of one of the hits sounds like a “bloop” due to “a strange atmospheric effect heard when the bass hits before the high-pitched sounds.”
The report explains: “After sunset, the atmosphere retains some of the heat accumulated during the day. Sound waves travel through this hot atmosphere at different speeds, depending on their frequency. As a result, low-pitched sounds arrive before high-pitched sounds. An observer close to the impact can tell A ‘bang’ is heard, while someone many miles away hears the bass first, creating a ‘bloop.’
After determining the exact impact sites, NASA used the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on the Mars Exploration Orbiter to obtain a color close-up of the craters.
HiRISE sees wavelengths that the human eye can’t detect, so scientists change camera filters to improve image color. “The areas that appear blue around the craters are where dust has been removed or disturbed by the impact blast,” NASA explained. “Martian dust is bright and red, so removing it makes the surface appear relatively dark and blue.”
Although detecting meteor strikes is an exciting development for the InSight team, the lander’s primary work has been seismic detection, with its sensors detecting more than 1,300 since it became operational in 2018. In May, it detected the most powerful earthquake ever observed. on another planet.
Unfortunately, InSight will end operations soon because the gradual build-up of dust on the solar panels prevents them from collecting enough energy to operate effectively.
However, the InSight team has a lot of data from the mission, which it considers a huge success.
In fact, the team is still looking at a lot of them, in part hoping to find evidence of other meteor strikes it may have missed. She said other impacts may have been masked by wind noise or seasonal changes in the atmosphere, but now that she has a better understanding of the characteristic seismic signature of a rock hitting Mars, she is confident she will find more examples of meteorite strikes through further analysis of the Martian data. Previous InSight.
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