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After years of preparation, NASA has caught the sound of space rocks colliding with Mars surface.
Between 2020 and 2021, the agency’s InSight Lander has detected seismic waves from multiple impacts on the Red Planet since 2018. All of the collisions appeared to have been near the planet’s Elysium Planitia plain, ranging from 53 to 180 miles from each other. .
The Discovery allowed NASA To launch the seismic and acoustic activity recorded on Earth’s neighbor for the first time. The meteorites entered the Martian atmosphere in September 2021 where they exploded into three pieces, leaving craters in their wake.
NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter confirmed the location of the impacts and took photographic evidence with a black and white camera, according to the agency. A high-resolution imaging science experiment camera was used to get a closer, color look at the craters left behind.
“After three years of waiting for the InSight program to detect collisions, those craters looked beautiful,” Brown University’s Ingrid Dubar said in a statement.
Furthermore, a clip from Impact was released to the public on Monday. Three different “bloop” sounds can be heard when meteorites or space rocks entered the planet’s atmosphere. The researchers were able to confirm three separate dates for the effects: May 27, 2020; February 18, 2021; and August 31, 2021.
Mars lies next to the asteroid belt, which scientists believe may be where asteroids originated. The planet’s atmosphere is only one percent thicker than Earth’s, which means more space rocks could easily pass through it as is.
Additional years of data may allow InSight to find more instances of impacts on Mars and capture its seismic activity. Other effects may not be detected due to wind or planetary weather blocking the noise.
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