NASA’s Perseverance rover has been on Mars for less than a month, and we’ve already got high-definition images of the planet along with a detailed video of the landing process. There is, however, one aspect we have yet to learn about, that being what exactly Mars sounds like.
Thankfully, we can now put that mystery behind us, as a microphone on the Perseverance rover has provided the first audio recording of sounds from Mars.
While the microphone attached to the rover did not collect any usable data during the descent, the commercial off-the-shelf device survived the highly dynamic descent to the surface and managed obtained sounds from Jezero Crater on February, 20.
About 10 seconds into the 60-second recording, a Martian breeze is audible for a few seconds, as are mechanical sounds of the rover operating on the surface.
Listen to the sound clip below:
Along with providing us with the sound of Mars, NASA also released a video of the Perseverance rover touching down on the surface of Mars for the first time. The video starts with a huge 21.5-metre-wide parachute deploying. At around 80 seconds later, the cameras capture the descent stage performing the sky crane maneuver over the landing site – the plume of its rocket engines kicking up dust and small rocks that have likely been in place for billions of years.
The spectacular footage ends with Perseverance’s aluminium wheels making contact with the surface at around 2.6 kph, and then pyrotechnically fired blades sever the cables connecting it to the still-hovering descent stage. The descent stage then climbs and accelerates away in the preplanned flyaway manoeuvre, leaving Perseverance alone on the Martian surface.
Take a look at the clip below:
“If this were an old Western movie, I’d say the descent stage was our hero riding slowly into the setting sun, but the heroes are actually back here on Earth,” said Matt Wallace, Mars 2020 Perseverance deputy project manager at JPL. “I’ve been waiting 25 years for the opportunity to see a spacecraft land on Mars. It was worth the wait. Being able to share this with the world is a great moment for our team.”