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Listening to Winds On Alien Worlds Is More Complicated Than it Sounds

14 Dec 2018, 20:10 UTC
Listening to Winds On Alien Worlds Is More Complicated Than it Sounds
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InSight’s recording of Martian winds isn’t what you’d hear if you were on the planet yourself. And if you start asking why, you’ll find out some bizarre and fascinating things about how winds work on alien worlds

Artist’s impression of the European Huygens lander that descended through Titan’s atmosphere and landed on the Saturn moon’s surface [ESA]

We live in a world where spacecraft are now routinely landing on other worlds and recording their sounds. Soviet probes aimed at Venus captured the thunder and howling winds on the volcanic world, giving us the first ever audio recording captured beyond Earth. We’ve been able to reconstruct the sound of alien rain on Saturn’s moon Titan. And now, for the first time, we get to hear the low hum of Martian winds sweeping down the planes. Except not exactly. You see, while InSight did in fact record a 10 to 15 mile per hour draft on Martian, the recording’s pitch had to be dialed up and its frequency sped up roughly 100 times for the human ear to make any real sense of it. But why is it so hard to hear them otherwise?

Unlike Venus or Titan, Mars has an extremely ...

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