NASA is tracking some interesting new sounds from Mars. The peculiar sounds were picked by NASA’s InSight lander which comes equipped with a superhuman “ear.”
The “ear,” called the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS), was provided by CNES, the French Space Agency, and was designed to pick up quakes on Mars, or Marsquakes.
The key to the red planets deep inner structure could be hidden in how those seismic waves move through Mars’ interior. But out of the past 100 events detected, only about 21 of them the space agency is considering as quakes. It’s not to say that the other 79 events aren’t, but the team can’t rule out other causes.
The mars quakes seem to suggest the Martian crust is somewhere between Earths and the Moon’s.
In an effort to avoid mixing the sounds with wind gusts the team usually listens for quakes in the twilight hours, "when peculiar sounds that the InSight team has nicknamed "dinks and donks" become more prevalent," NASA said in a release. "The team knows they're coming from delicate parts within the seismometer expanding and contracting against one another and thinks heat loss may be the factor, similar to how a car engine "ticks" after it's turned off and begins cooling.”
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory manages InSight, part of NASA's Discovery Program, for NASA's Science Mission Directorate.