🔊 Hear that? That’s the sound of me driving over Martian rocks. This is the first time we’ve captured sounds while driving on Mars.
— NASA's Perseverance Mars Rover (@NASAPersevere) March 17, 2021
The NASA Perseverance rover has captured audio of itself rolling on Mars’ surface. The bangs, pings, and rattles of the six-wheeled rover could be clearly heard in the audio clip released by the US space agency on Wednesday.
Nasa posted two copies of the same audio clip of the same drive on Wednesday (March 17).
Unfiltered sounds of the rover moving in Jezero Crater can be heard in the first audio shot, which is 16 minutes long.
“In it, you can hear the noise made by Perseverance’s mobility system [its wheels and suspension] interacting with the pavement, as well as a high-pitched scraping noise,” Nasa said. The second version, is a shorter compilation of sounds from the longer raw recording of the drive. It is only 90-seconds long.
“A lot of people, when they see the images, don’t appreciate that the wheels are metal,” said Vandi Verma, a senior engineer and rover driver at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California.
“When you’re driving with these wheels on rocks, it’s actually very noisy,” Vandi Verma was quoted by Nasa as saying.
“…if you take a minute to consider what you’re hearing and where it was recorded, it makes perfect sense,” Dave Gruel, lead engineer for Mars 2020’s EDL Camera and Microphone subsystem. The Perseverance rover, which had touched down the Martian surface on February 18, had captured its first video soon after landing on the surface.
The high-definition video clip, lasting three minutes and 25 seconds, shows the deployment of a red-and-white parachute with a 70.5-foot-wide (21.5-meter-wide) canopy.
The key objective for Perseverance’s mission on Mars is to search for signs of ancient microbial life. The rover is designed to characterise the Red Planet’s geology and past climate, pave the way for human exploration on Mars, and be the first mission to collect and cache Martian rock and regolith (broken rock and dust)