NASA publishes audio recordings of the first sounds of the wind on Mars

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) released two historical audio recordings of the surface of Mars on Wednesday.

In the first audio clip, recorded with the two microphones of the Perseverance Mars rover, listeners can hear the wind.

In its post on SoundCloud, NASA described the sound as “hearing a shell or having a hand on your ear.”

They obtained the instrument’s audio on February 19, around 18 hours after landing in the planet’s Jezero crater.

“The mast of the rover, which held the microphone, was still stored in the deck of the Perseverance, so the sound is muffled,” they explained.

In the second clip, listeners can hear laser hits on a rock target in an audio taken on March 2.

“You hear the sounds of 30 impacts, some a little louder than others. Variations in the intensity of the zapping sounds will provide information on the physical structure of the targets, such as their relative hardness or the presence of weather coatings, “wrote NASA in a caption. “The target, Máaz (‘Mars’ in Navajo), was about 10 feet (3.1 m) away.”

Both recordings were taken using the rover’s SuperCam, which is a rock vaporizer instrument mounted on the “head” of the rover’s mast that will help scientists search for fossils on the red planet.

In the clip with audible wind, the mast on which the microphone sits was still tucked away, muffling the sound, which the researcher at the Institut Supérieur de l’Aéronautique et de l’Espace (ISAE-SUPERAO) and planetary scientist Naomi Murdoch discussed during a joint news conference with the National Center for Space Studies (CNES) and NASA on Wednesday.

“First of all, on the surface of Mars, we have very low atmospheric pressure. It is actually 150 times lower than on Earth. Furthermore, the atmosphere is made up of carbon dioxide, ”Murdoch explained. “And these two factors together mean that sound does not propagate in the same way on the surface of Mars as it does on Earth.”

“For that reason, the SuperCam microphone is particularly sensitive. And this allows us to record sounds despite the strong attenuation in the Martian atmosphere, “he said.

The Mars 2020 rover marks the third time the microphone has been sent to Mars.


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