NASA’s Perseverance rover sent back a set of sounds from the surface of Mars to give us a glimpse of what it’s like on the Red Planet.
The rare audio footage has added a new dimension to humanity’s understanding of the Red Planet. While we’ve known how Mars looks for many years, we now know its sounds as well.
There have been numerous rovers and probes sent to Mars, but Perseverance is the first to record sound. The Perseverance rover recorded five hours of audio using two microphones.
Scientists can use these audio recordings to learn a lot about the planet and its atmosphere. Sound travels through the air via vibrations. Because the Martian atmosphere is 100 times less dense than the Earth’s, scientists were unsure if their microphones would even pick up any sound. And they didn’t get any until Ingenuity’s fourth flight on April 30.
A planetary scientist from France, Baptiste Chide, was awestruck by the amazing experience the audio recordings gave him.
“It’s like you’re really standing there. Martian sounds have strong bass vibrations, so when you put on headphones, you can really feel it. I think microphones will be an important asset to future Mars and solar system science, ” he was quoted saying on The Jerusalem Post.
Using NASA’s Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer (MEDA), as well as the rover’s wind sensors and SuperCam camera, scientists can study microturbulence, or tiny changes in the air’s density, on Mars.
Centro de Astrobiología (CAB) director Jose Rodriguez-Manfredi described how detail and context are complementary in the eyes of a weather scientist. He said, “It’s kind of like comparing a magnifying glass to a microscope with 100 times magnification. From the weather scientist’s point of view, each perspective – detail and context – complements one another.”
According to NASA’s 2020 prediction, sounds from Mars would take longer to reach the ear. Scientists will now reconsider this model as they learn more about the Martian atmosphere and how it conducts sound.
Experience the Sounds of Mars
NASA’s website features more Sounds of Mars, which you can hear by clicking here.
In addition to hearing the sounds of Mars’ atmosphere, an interactive app also lets you hear how Earth’s sounds would change if they were sent to Mars. Record your own greeting to get an idea of what you’d sound like if you were there.