Research on Mars knows a lot, but how is the red planet really? The NASA rover “diligently” and the two commercially available microphones show it.
Pasadena / Frankfurt – Tuesday is dry, dusty, windy and not pleasant for people. Space exploration knows that much. But how does it really sound on the red planet? What noise can you hear there? How do sounds propagate in a thin Martian atmosphere? For a long time, research has not been able to answer these questions – and accidentally sent microphones to Mars. Two commercially available microphones were installed on the NASA rover “Perseverance”. One of the microphones is connected to the rover’s chassis, while the second microphone is located on the “diligence” mast, which also houses the so-called “supercam”.
The NASA rover, which landed on Mars in February 2021, has now captured the “sound of Mars” for almost five hours and sent it back to Earth. You can hear the wind blowing, the metal rover wheels running on the rocky ground or the rotating motors moving the rover’s hand.
“It’s like standing there yourself,” NASA said in a statement from Baptiste Side, a planetary scientist exploring records in the French L’Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planétologie. “Mars sounds have strong bass vibrations, so you can really feel them when you put on the headphones,” Sid explains.
NASA shows the sound of Mars: How does the red planet really sound?
But researchers are not only interested in hearing sounds on Mars – they can also gain new knowledge from these sounds. How do sounds propagate in the Martian atmosphere? The small “intelligent” helicopter that came to Mars with the “diligent” rover flew over the surface of Mars several times, helping researchers to answer this question.
Rover microphones captured the rotor noise of a helicopter on its fourth flight on April 30, allowing researchers to exclude two of the three models of how noise propagates on Mars, according to NASA.
The fact that the rotor sounds of the Mars helicopter were recorded by microphones came as a surprise to some researchers, as announced by NASA. They thought they could not hear more tones in the very thin Martian atmosphere.
NASA Rover “Perseverance”: Microphone refers to the Martian atmosphere
The activity of Mars took researchers one step further: “diligence” shot a laser at rocks to analyze evaporation by a camera. Microphones have already recorded more than 25,000 laser shots and provided new knowledge to researchers. Some images allow scientists to conclude that short-term changes in the Martian atmosphere are so-called “microturflenses”.
But what discoveries have researchers now made about the “sound of Mars”? “The sounds of Mars carry more than we thought,” explains “Super Game” scientist Nina Lanza. “It shows how important field research is.”
Sounds from Mars should help NASA in Rosa care
The noises recorded by microphones on Mars cause far more practical side effects for groups on Earth: if enough data were collected in the future, the sounds of the Mars rover should be used for maintenance. According to NASA, the microphone in the chassis is in a good position to pick up noise from tires and other systems.
At the American Space Agency, the program is compared to a mechanic who asks the engine of a car to find faults. “Vandi Verma,” the chief engineer for robotics at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, wants to hear these noises constantly, and emphasizes that people on Earth are already seeing the “changes in noise patterns” of the test rover. Avoid early problems to identify.
NASA rover to “diligently” send Mars soil samples to Earth
Rover “diligence” has the great task of detecting signs of previous microbial life. He will classify geography and the previous climate of the red planet and prepare for future human exploration of Mars with technological demonstrations such as the future intelligent helicopter or “MOXIE” experiment. Another important task of the rover is to collect suitable soil samples and then store them for Mars travel. In the future, the joint mission of NASA and the European space agency ISA is to bring the models back to Earth, where they will be tested by humans.
The Mars rover “Perseverance” recently made an important observation: before it first departed from its landing site, it sent evidence to Earth that the Xerox Gorge was once a lake fed by a river. (Tab)
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