By Sarah Lewin
NASA’s new Mars lander isn’t quite ready to probe the Red Planet’s interior yet, but it’s starting to get the lay of the land on the surface — and in the atmosphere. The InSight lander is already deploying its powerful meteorology package to monitor the Red Planet’s weather.
InSight touched down on the Martian surface Nov. 26, and since then it has been carefully analyzing its environment and setting up its sensitive suite of instruments. The mission’s seismometer still sits on the lander’s deck, measuring InSight’s vibrations rather than the planet’s, and the heat-sensing mole remains undeployed as well. But the lander’s meteorology suite is already gearing up to measure the pressure, temperature and three-dimensional wind patterns on the Red Planet.
Part of that suite — the pressure sensor — played a starring role in new “sounds from Mars” recently released by the InSight team. That sensor and the seismometer both caught the vibrations of wind rushing across the instrument deck and the seismometer’s protective cover.
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