NASA’s Perseverance rover managed to capture more than 16 minutes of sounds from its 90-foot (27.3-meter) drive on March 7th using its entry, descent, and landing (EDL) microphone. This off-the-shelf microphone was installed on the rover to help take the public along for the ride during touchdown, but mission team members have been eager to hear the sounds from the surface as well. We can hear the noise generated by the interaction of Perseverance’s mobility system with the surface can be heard, along with a high-pitched scratching noise. Read more for the sound clip and additional information.
Perseverance’s engineering team is still trying to determine the source of the scratching noise, which could be either electromagnetic interference from one of the rover’s electronics boxes or interactions between the mobility system and the Martian surface. What most may not know is that the EDL microphone was not intended for surface operations and had limited testing in this configuration before launch.
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If I heard these sounds driving my car, I’d pull over and call for a tow. But if you take a minute to consider what you’re hearing and where it was recorded, it makes perfect sense,” said Dave Gruel, lead engineer for Mars 2020’s EDL Camera and Microphone subsystem.