Since it arrived on Mars in February, NASA’s Perseverance rover has recorded around five hours worth of haunting audio from the Red Planet.
A recent report from the Daily Mail has shared details about the rover and its time on Mars over the last eight months. NASA outfitted the Mars rover with a pair of microphones before its launch into outer space. The two devices have allowed the agency to hear the planet as if “you’re really standing there,” NASA explained.
The Perseverance rover has slowly moved around the Jezero crater searching for any signs of life. Along its journey, the spacecraft has taken numerous photographs while recording sounds as well. In fact, it’s the first time any spacecraft has recorded the sounds of the Red Planet.
Yet before the rover landed, NASA officials weren’t positive they would hear anything on the surface of Mars. That changed though on April 30th when the microphones picked up the Ingenuity helicopter. During the helicopter’s fourth flight, the mics could hear the helicopter once it approached within 262-feet of the rover. Information received by the rover and helicopter helped researchers figure out how sound transmits on Mars.
Researchers placed one of the microphones on the rover’s chassis. They installed a second mic on its mast alongside the rover’s SuperCam laser instrument. The SuperCam studies rocks and soil, and is able to analyze data through recorded laser pulses.
“Sound on Mars carries much farther than we thought,” SuperCam scientist Nina Lanza said. “It shows you just how important it is to do field science.”
NASA Audio Research Shows ‘Strong Bass Vibrations’ on Mars
NASA researchers have been able to hear various sounds throughout the rover’s time on the Red Planet. They include Martian wind gusts and the rover’s wheels crunching over the rocky terrain. Additionally, it picks up the humming motor of the Ingenuity helicopter as it flies through the air.
All of the data from the audio recordings have provided important information on Mars’ atmosphere. The sounds have revealed that Mars has “strong bass vibrations,” according to researchers from L’Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planétologie in Toulouse, France. Further, the sounds have allowed researchers to experience Mars in a new way, according to French planetary scientist Baptiste Chide.
“Martian sounds have strong bass vibrations. So when you put on headphones, you can really feel it,” Chide said to the outlet. “I think microphones will be an important asset to future Mars and solar system science.”
As NASA’s Perseverance rover continues its research, another main goal of its mission is to search for signs of ancient microbial life. The space agency hopes that further research will help characterize the planet’s geology and past climate. They also hope that the mission will lead to human exploration on the Red Planet in the future.