NASA records the sound of a space rock crashing into Mars

For the first time, NASA has captured the eerie sound of a meteoroid sailing through another planet’s atmosphere and crashing to the ground.

The recording, posted September 19 on YouTube, combines “seismic and acoustic waves” detected when a space rock hit Mars on September 5, 2021, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory said in a press release.

Lasting only around 3 seconds, the sound begins with a whistle – the rock flying through the sky – and ends with “bloops”.

“This was the first time the sound of a meteoroid impact was picked up on another planet, and it might not be what you expected,” the lab reports.

NASA reports that these three craters were formed on September 5, 2021 by a meteoroid impact on Mars and were “the first to be detected by NASA’s InSight”. NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

“You hear three ‘bloops’ representing distinct moments of impact: the meteoroid entering Mars’ atmosphere, exploding into pieces and hitting the ground. The particular sound is caused by an atmospheric effect that was also observed in the deserts on Earth, where low sounds arrive before high sounds.

The meteoroid – “the term for incoming space rocks before they hit the ground” – exploded into at least three pieces, leaving three distinct craters, scientists said.

NASA said its InSight lander picked up the seismic waves and NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter flew over the impact site and photographed “three dark spots on the surface.”

A September 19 paper in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Geoscience reports that NASA has recorded four meteorite impacts on Mars since August 2021, “between 53 and 180 miles (85 and 290 kilometers) from InSight’s location. “.

All four produced quakes (like quakes) in the magnitude 2.0 range, officials said.

“Researchers are wondering why they haven’t detected more meteoroid impacts on Mars,” NASA said.

“The Red Planet sits next to the Solar System’s main asteroid belt, which provides enough space rock to scar the planet’s surface. Because Mars’ atmosphere is just 1% thicker than that of Earth, more meteoroids pass through it without disintegrating, ”explains NASA.

It’s possible other impacts have occurred since InSight landed in 2018, but they’ve been “obscured by wind noise or seasonal changes in the atmosphere,” the InSight team says. .

The paper’s lead author, Raphael Garcia of the Institut Supérieur de l’Aéronautique et de l’Espace de France in Toulouse, says these impact sites “are the clocks of the solar system”.

“Scientists can roughly estimate the age of a planet’s surface by counting its impact craters: the more they see, the older the surface is,” he said in the press release.

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Mark Price has been a reporter for The Charlotte Observer since 1991, covering topics including schools, crime, immigration, LGBTQ issues, homelessness and nonprofits. He graduated from the University of Memphis with a major in journalism and art history, and a minor in geology.

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