June 10, 2023

NASA’s Perseverance Rover Captures the Sounds of Mars – Listen In

Determination is the very first spacecraft to tape-record the noise of the Red Planet using dedicated microphones– both of which were commercially offered, off-the-shelf gadgets. NASAs Perseverance Mars rover carries two microphones which are straight tape-recording sounds on the Red Planet, consisting of the Ingenuity helicopter and the rover itself at work. NASAs Perseverance Mars rover carries 2 commercial-grade microphones, including this one on its mast. The microphone also enables for research on how sound propagates on Mars.

This illustration of NASAs Perseverance Mars rover indicates the place of its 2 microphones. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Determination is the very first spacecraft to tape-record the sound of the Red Planet using devoted microphones– both of which were commercially available, off-the-shelf gadgets. One trips on the side of the rovers chassis. The second mic sits on Perseverances mast as a complement to the SuperCam laser instruments investigations of rocks and the environment.
NASAs Perseverance Mars rover carries 2 microphones which are directly tape-recording sounds on the Red Planet, consisting of the Ingenuity helicopter and the rover itself at work. For the really first time, these audio recordings offer a new method to experience the world. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL/ CNES/CNRS/IRAP/ DPA.
The body mic was supplied by NASAs Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, while the SuperCam instrument and its microphone were offered by the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in New Mexico and a consortium of French lab under the auspices of the Centre National dEtudes Spatiales (CNES).
These commercial-grade microphones resemble one on the chassis of NASAs Perseverance Mars rover. Credit: Courtesy of DPA.
The Era of Space Microphones.
SuperCam studies rocks and soil by zapping them with a laser, then evaluating the resulting vapor with a video camera. Because the laser pulses up to numerous times per target, chances to capture the noise of those zaps rapidly add up: the microphone has currently tape-recorded more than 25,000 laser shots.
Some of those recordings are teaching scientists about modifications in the planets atmosphere. Sound travels through vibrations in the air. From its perch on Perseverances mast, the SuperCam mic is preferably situated for monitoring “microturbulence”– minute shifts in the air– and complements the rovers dedicated wind sensors, which belong to a suite of atmospheric tools called MEDA, short for the Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer.
NASAs Perseverance Mars rover carries 2 commercial-grade microphones, including this one on its mast. The mast microphone belongs to the SuperCam instrument. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.
MEDAs sensing units sample the winds temperature level, speed, and pressure one to two times per second for as much as two hours at a time. SuperCams microphone, on the other hand, can supply similar details at a rate of 20,000 times per second over a number of minutes.
” Its kind of like comparing a magnifying glass to a microscope with 100 times magnification,” stated MEDAs primary private investigator, Jose Rodriguez-Manfredi of the Centro de Astrobiología (CAB) at the Instituto Nacional de Tecnica Aeroespacial in Madrid. “From the weather researchers viewpoint, each viewpoint– information and context– matches one another.”.
The microphone also enables research study on how sound propagates on Mars. Due to the fact that the worlds environment is much less dense than Earths, researchers understood higher-pitched sounds in specific would be difficult to hear. A few researchers– not sure if they d hear anything at all– were surprised when the microphone selected up the Ingenuity helicopters buzzing rotors during its fourth flight, on April 30, from a distance of 262 feet (80 meters).
NASAs Perseverance Mars rover carries 2 commercial-grade microphones, including this one on its chassis. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.
Information from the helicopter audio allowed scientists to eliminate two of 3 models developed to expect how sound propagates on Mars.
” Sound on Mars carries much further than we thought,” said Nina Lanza, a SuperCam researcher who works with the microphone data at LANL. “It reveals you simply how crucial it is to do field science.”.
Sound Check.
Theres another aspect of area exploration that could take advantage of an audio measurement: spacecraft maintenance. Engineers utilize electronic cameras to keep track of the wheel wear on Curiosity rover and dust accumulating on InSights solar panels. With microphones, they might likewise examine a spacecrafts performance the method mechanics may listen to a car engine.
The Perseverance team is collecting loads of recordings from the rovers chassis mic, which is well-positioned to listen to its wheels and other internal systems. While there arent adequate recordings yet to identify any changes, over time, engineers may be able to pore over that data and determine subtle distinctions, like extra electrical existing going to a particular wheel. This would add to the ways they currently monitor the spacecrafts health.
” We would like to listen to these sounds routinely,” said Vandi Verma, Perseverances primary engineer for robotic operations at JPL. “We consistently listen for modifications in sound patterns on our test rover here in the world, which can indicate theres a concern that needs attention.”.
More About the Mission.
An essential objective for Perseverances mission on Mars is astrobiology, including the look for indications of ancient microbial life. The rover will define the planets geology and past climate, pave the method for human expedition of the Red Planet, and be the first mission to gather and cache Martian rock and regolith.
Subsequent NASA missions, in cooperation with ESA, would send out spacecraft to Mars to gather these sealed samples from the surface and return them to Earth for extensive analysis.
The Mars 2020 Perseverance mission belongs to NASAs Moon to Mars expedition technique, which consists of Artemis missions to the Moon that will assist get ready for human exploration of the Red Planet.

This illustration depicts NASAs Perseverance rover operating on the surface area of Mars. Credit: NASA
Two microphones aboard the six-wheeled spacecraft add a new dimension to the method researchers and engineers check out the Red Planet.
Thanks to two microphones aboard NASAs Perseverance rover, the objective has actually tape-recorded almost five hours of Martian wind gusts, rover wheels crunching over gravel, and motors whirring as the spacecraft moves its arm. These noises permit researchers and engineers to experience the Red Planet in new ways– and everybody is invited to eavesdrop.
” Its like youre actually standing there,” stated Baptiste Chide, a planetary researcher who studies data from the microphones at LInstitut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planétologie in France. “Martian sounds have strong bass vibrations, so when you put on earphones, you can actually feel it. I think microphones will be an essential possession to future Mars and planetary system science.”

I think microphones will be an important property to future Mars and solar system science.”