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NASA recorded the sound of space rocks hitting Mars

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In Science and Space: When you think of high-velocity space rocks crashing into planets, you might think of a jarring clinking sound. But NASA’s new audio has revealed that the meteorite hitting Mars is more like a “bloop” than a “boom.”

It wasn’t until April 14 that we were able to capture the sound and shaking associated with the collision for the first time. May 5, 2021. The case marks the first time scientists have detected an “earthquake” caused by rocks in space and, in general, the first time seismic signals have been detected from a meteorite impact on another planet.

NASA has been working to get sound for years. The space agency’s InSight lander has landed on Mars since 2018 and on four separate dates from 2020 to 2021 picked up seismic waves when space rocks crashed into the red planet. According to NASA, the data not only provided an exciting new look at the inner workings of Mars and the universe, but also marked the first detection of seismic and acoustic activity from an impact on Mars.

NASA said it was the “most dramatic” of the impacts measured, as the meteorite exploded into at least three pieces, each forming a crater on Mars.

All crash sites were between her 53 miles and 180 miles from the InSight lander, causing minor tremors of magnitude 2.0 or less, according to the agency. Given Mars’ position and configuration, the data only confirmed four crash landings in space, but scientists expect there were many more. According to NASA, the planet is adjacent to the solar system’s main asteroid belt, which makes collisions with asteroids even more likely. Also, the planet’s atmosphere is only 1% as thick as Earth’s, allowing more space rock to escape and pass through without hitting the surface.

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We also have data. InSight’s seismographs have detected more than 1,300 earthquakes in just a few years on Mars, from thousands of kilometers away. The instrument team believes this is because other conditions, such as wind noise and seasonal atmospheric changes, prevent it from detecting waves from other collisions.

More seismic data is a top aim for Mars teams since it can aid scientists in determining the age of the planet’s surfaces. According to NASA, the more craters there are in a region, the older that particular surface is. “Impacts are the solar system’s clocks,” said lead study author Raphael Garcia. “Today, we need to know the impact rate to assess the age of various surfaces.”

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