Listen to the Sound of Space Rocks Smashing Into Mars

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This story is part of Welcome to Marsour series exploring the red planet.

What does a space rock sound like on Mars? The answer is “bloop,” according to NASA’s InSight lander. His seismometer captured a series of meteorites that struck Mars in 2020 and 2021.

InSight’s impacts and discoveries are the topic of research published in Nature Geoscience on Monday. “Not only does this represent the first forcings detected by the spacecraft’s seismometer since Insight landed on the Red Planet in 2018, it also represents the first time that seismic and sonic waves from a collision have been detected on Mars,” NASA said in a statement. . .

The researchers identified four separate meteorite impacts that were detected by InSight. This trio displays three of the impact sites as seen by MRO.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

The first (and most dramatic) discovery that scientists noticed was from September 5, 2021. InSight picked up seismic waves from a rock that had exploded into at least three sections, each leaving a crater-shaped mark. NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) examined the impact site and spotted the craters, confirming the source of the waves “heard” by the rover’s seismometer.

“After three years of waiting for InSight to detect the collision, those craters looked beautiful,” said planetary scientist and study co-author Ingrid Dubard.

NASA-JPL shared a prolific video of what InSight heard in September 2021, tracking the moments when the meter reentered the atmosphere, exploded into pieces and hit the ground. “This meteor impact feels like a ‘bloop’ due to a strange atmospheric effect heard when the bass hits before the high-pitched sounds,” said the Meteorite Propulsion Laboratory.

A look back through InSight’s data revealed three other discoveries of meteorite impact. Mars has a reputation for being peppered with space rocks, so scientists wondered why InSight noticed only a handful. “The Insight team suspects that other effects may have been masked by wind noise or seasonal changes in the atmosphere,” NASA said. The search for collision discoveries is not over. The researchers will continue to search the probe data for more.

InSight’s insights into impacts are valuable for sorting out the history of Mars’ surface. “The effects are the clocks of the solar system,” said study lead author Rafael Garcia. “We need to know the impact rate today to estimate the age of the different surfaces.”

Insight in recent days of her mission. The landing craft’s solar panels are covered in dust and the power dwindles. He is still listening to the Marsquakes event, but it is expected to close before January 2023. It was an unforgettable adventure, and it gave scientists a chance A new understanding of the interior of the Red Planet And as in the case of meteorite collisions, so are its surface activities.

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