Taking humankind another step closer to Mars, NASA’s Perseverance rover recently sent sounds it recorded while driving on the red planet. The bangs, pings and rattles of the robot’s six wheels were recorded using the ‘sensitive’ EDL microphone that was installed to help “take the public along for the ride” during its touchdown and in the aftermath.
“More than 16 minutes of sounds from Perseverance’s 90-foot (27.3-meter) drive on March 7 were captured by Perseverance’s entry, descent, and landing (EDL) microphone, which remains operational on the rover after its historic touchdown on Feb. 18,” NASA said.
On March 17, NASA released two versions of the audio clip for the public. The first version features over 16 minutes of the raw, unfiltered sound of the rover travelling in the Jazero crater. Later, it shared a shorter compilation of the sounds. For this 90-second version, NASA engineers combined three segments from the raw audio file (sections 0:20-0:45, 6:40-7:10, and 14:30-15:00), processing and editing them to filter out some of the noise.
ð Hear that? That’s the sound of me driving over Martian rocks. This is the first time we’ve captured sounds while driving on Mars.— NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover (@NASAPersevere) March 17, 2021
Read full story: https://t.co/oqdnCJShjm pic.twitter.com/yKwypUSnE7
According to the American space agency, the audio clip features the noise generated by the interaction of the rover’s mobility system with the planet’s surface. Additionally, high pitch scratching noise is also heard. NASA has said that it was investigating the sound adding that it could either be electromagnetic interference from one of the rover’s electronics boxes or interactions between the mobility system and the Martian surface.
“If I heard these sounds driving my car, I’d pull over and call for a tow,” said Dave Gruel, lead engineer for Mars 2020’s EDL Camera and Microphone subsystem. “But if you take a minute to consider what you’re hearing and where it was recorded, it makes perfect sense.”
Meanwhile, the clip has left the internet amazed and has been heard over 480.7 thousand times since shared. "can you guys put a novelty car horn on the next rover to Mars?" quipped a user. "How is sound recorded? Sound needs a medium to travel. Through what medium is this sound heard if there is no atmosphere on Mars. I do not want to make guesses, can you share the science behind this sound?".
Mars has an atmosphere.— Bushey (@bushey_80) March 18, 2021
On the next rover, NASA should install a speaker on the other side of the rover and play familiar music so we can hear how it sounds on Mars. In fact, you could set up a radio station and broadcast Mars music once a month. Then set off a small firework on July 4.— lawrence (@lcagee) March 17, 2021
Yeah! You’re right, I couldn’t figure out what that sound reminded me of. And I too was wondering why no gravel type sound.— Denise G (@deniseScranton) March 17, 2021
Did you listen? Sounded to me more like vibrations coming through the rover structure and not through the (very thin) air.— Michael Marek (@MiMarek1) March 17, 2021
Image Credits: NASA