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Mars 2020 Rover to Capture Sounds From the RedPlanet

Written by on 19/01/2021

Rover captures sounds from Mars, and you can hear them and compare them.

When the Mars Perseverance rover lands on the Red Planet on Feb. 18, 2021, it will not only collect stunning images and rock samples; the data it returns may also include some recorded sounds from Mars.

The rover carries a pair of microphones, which – if all goes as planned – will provide interesting and historic audio of the arrival and landing at Mars, along with sounds of the rover at work and of wind and other ambient noise.

The way many things sound on Earth would be slightly different on the Red Planet. That’s because the Martian atmosphere is only 1% as dense as Earth’s atmosphere at the surface and has a different makeup than ours, which affects sound emission and propagation. But the discrepancy between sounds on Earth and Mars would be much less dramatic than, for example, someone’s voice before and after inhaling helium from a balloon.

Rover Captures Sounds From Mars

NASA explains that audio gathered by the mission may not sound quite the same on Mars as it would to our ears on Earth. A new interactive online experience lets you sample the difference. Check it here.

The Perseverance rover carries two microphones, letting us directly record the sounds of Mars for the very first time. One, an experimental mic, may capture the landing itself. The other mic is for science. Both mics may even capture the sounds the rover makes.

Even though Earth and Mars are entirely different planets, it may be comforting to know that if you were on Mars, you might still sound pretty much like yourself. If you were standing on Mars, you’d hear a quieter, more muffled version of what you’d hear on Earth, and you’d wait slightly longer to hear it. On Mars, the atmosphere is entirely different. But, the biggest change to audio would be to high-pitch sounds, higher than most voices. Some sounds that we’re used to on Earth, like whistles, bells or bird songs, would almost be inaudible on.

When we hear sound, what we’re really experiencing is our eardrums vibrating. That vibration comes from waves of pressure that travel to our ears from the source of the sound. To get to our ears, the waves need something to travel through, like air. Sound waves can travel through liquids and even solids, but most of what we hear comes through the air. Are we still far far away from raves on Mars? Let us know what you think about the audio recordings.

 

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