From NASA, which landed on Mars less than a week ago, has transmitted the first audio recordings of the surface of the red planet.
NASA released the audio clips on Monday, along with never-before-seen footage.of the rover last Thursday, and the most sophisticated images yet taken of Mars.
Along with 25 cameras on board, the rover also carries two microphones. One did not work during the descent of the rover, but the other captured the sounds of the Martian wind passing by, as well as the hum of the rover itself.
The audio snippet marks the first sound ever recorded on another planet.
“For those wondering how to land on Mars, or why is it so difficult, or how cool would it be to do so, you don’t need to look any further,” said Acting NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk.
In the first recording, the sounds of the rover itself are more prominent. In the second, NASA leaked the audio to clarify the sounds of Mars.
“Imagine sitting on the surface of Mars and listening to your surroundings,” Dave Gruel, principal engineer for the rover’s camera and microphone subsystem, said during a news conference. “It’s great. Really neat. Overwhelming, so to speak.”
Gruel said he was particularly excited about the audio recordings so that visually impaired people can feel the same excitement of reaching Mars as those who can view images and videos.
Mission team members said Monday they expect to hear many more sounds from Mars, including wind, storms, falling rocks, and the sound of Perseverance’s wheels as it moves or its drill while digging on the Martian surface. .
Audio can also tell scientists how wellis working and potentially identify problems with the mobile. But, due to the harsh conditions on Mars, scientists caution that the microphones may not last the entire duration of the mission.
Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, said the recordings are “the closest you can get to landing on Mars without donning a pressure suit.”
Scientists have tried listening to Mars before. The microphones have traveled to the red planet twice: the Mars Polar Lander failed and the microphone on board the Phoenix Lander never turned on.
In 2018, NASA’s Insight Mars lander unexpectedlyfrom the vibrations of the Martian wind using its air pressure sensor and seismometer. But, Perseverance has captured the real thing from the surface of Mars, using “off the shelf” microphones specifically dedicated to picking up audio.
Perseverance will soon go to work searching for signs of ancient life in Jezero Crater. And a decade from now, he plans to be the first tofrom the red planet back to Earth.