NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance is set to hit the surface of the Red Planet on Feb. 18, 2021, and in addition to collecting stunning images as well as rock samples, it will also record some sounds. This rover comes equipped with microphones, which will mainly consist of the rover at work, wind and other ambient noise. One thing to note is that the same sound on Earth would be slightly different on Mars because of its atmosphere, which is only 1% as dense as ours. Read more for a previous sound sample from Mars and additional information.
The sounds would sound slightly off due to the Red Planet’s different makeup, which affects sound emission and propagation. Perseverance’s first microphone us located on the SuperCam instrument atop the rover’s mast and used for science as well as recording natural sounds on Mars. This includes the sounds of the rover’s laser turning rock into plasma when it hits a target to gather information on rock properties. A second microphone is going to record sounds during the mission’s entry, descent, and landing (EDL).
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It is stunning all the science we can get with an instrument as simple as a microphone on Mars,” said Baptiste Chide, a postdoctoral researcher in planetary science at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and a contributor to the SuperCam microphone.