NASA’s Perseverance rover has been on Mars a little over a year, but even in that short time period, it has made some interesting discoveries, such as how the speed of sound is slower on the Red Planet. A team of scientists analyzed the audio it recorded to figure out how fast sound travels through the extremely thin, mostly carbon dioxide atmosphere. What they found is that low-pitched sounds travel at about 537 mph on Mars, while higher-pitched sounds move at 559 mph.
For comparison, sounds normally travels at 767 mph on Earth. The ariable sound speeds on Mars are mainly due to the effect of its thin, cold, carbon dioxide atmosphere. Scientists speculated that Mars’ atmosphere would influence sound speed prior to the mission, but the actual phenomenon had never been observed until Perseverance made these recordings. That’s not all, sounds also only carry a short distance on the Red Planet – sound drops off at 213 feet on Earth, while on Mars, it falters at just 26 feet.
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Mars is very quiet because of low atmospheric pressure. But the pressure changes with the seasons on Mars. We are entering a high-pressure season. Maybe the acoustic environment on Mars will be less quiet than it was when we landed,” said Baptiste Chide of Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, also a coauthor of the study.