NASA’s Perseverance rover is one of the most advanced pieces of equipment ever created by the space agency. Along with a number of camera systems and its very own helicopter called Ingenuity, the Perseverance rover is also equipped with microphones, which enable it to record sounds from beyond our planet.
NASA intends on using the microphones to record the rover as it descends onto the big red planet, which is scheduled to take place in February 2021. The microphone in question is called EDL, which is an acronym for the job it will be used for, that being to record the Entry, Descent, and Landing.
During a check of the rover’s camera and microphone system, which initially took place in October 2020, NASA fired up the EDL to capture a 60-second sound bite, which has now been made available to the public via the space agency’s SoundCloud account.
One of my two microphones captured these sounds during an in-flight checkout on my way to Mars. The hum you hear is the heat rejection fluid pump that helps keep the temperature comfortable in my aeroshell. https://t.co/rECLektfsP #countdowntomars https://t.co/cwPmW4RBp1
— NASA’s Perseverance Mars Rover (@NASAPersevere) November 18, 2020
The Perseverance rover is currently blasting through space at 39,000 kp/h, which isn’t exactly the best conditions to pick up audio, as NASA notes. The audio clip was processed by the Danish company that produced the EDL microphone hardware. The sound clip certainly won’t be winning any musical awards, as it is nothing more than a continuous humming sound, but the fact that it came from a spacecraft closer to Mars than Earth is pretty amazing.
When the Perseverance rover does eventually get to Mars, the EDL mic will be used to record that historic moment, including the sound of its parachute releasing just before its 6 wheels touch martian dirt for the first time.