Mars Is Very Quiet,’ But Perseverance Rover Still Captures Martian Sounds for Science

Mars Is Very Quiet,’ But Perseverance Rover Still Captures Martian Sounds for Science

In its travels, the microphone aboard the Mars Rover Perseverance has caught a variety of unusual noises, but “a profound quiet reign” on the red planet for the most part. In this compilation of sounds from the mission, you can still hear the “puff, whir, zap” of the rover’s tools, the hum of the Ingenuity helicopter, and the woosh of a mild Martian breeze. When researchers reused several sensors on the InSight Mars Lander, we heard the sound of Mars in an indirect way, but this is a far more targeted recording. You may learn about the atmosphere and other things that impact it by comparing how an action or event sounds on Mars to how it would sound on Earth.

“It’s a new sense of research we’ve never utilized before on Mars,” said University of Toulouse astronomer Sylvestre Maurice, lead author of a study published today in Nature. As stated in the abstract: The acoustic environment of Mars remained unknown before to the arrival of the Perseverance rover… Because of a paucity of experimental evidence at low pressure and the difficulties of characterizing turbulence or attenuation in a confined environment, theoretical models were unreliable. 

We report the first assessment of Mars’ acoustic environment and pressure changes in the audible range and beyond, utilizing Perseverance microphone data… These findings provide a foundation for acoustic process modeling, which is crucial for research on planets like Mars and Venus. The findings effectively show that sound on Mars is both sluggish to travel and quick to fade away. At sea level on Earth, the speed of sound is approximately 767 miles per hour. It was recorded at 537 MPH on Mars, however this will alter as the air pressure increases and falls with the seasons. On Earth, a medium-sized sound such as a voice fades after around 200 feet, whereas on Mars, the same sound travels only 26 feet before becoming inaudible.

That’s useful information for creating systems for work and living on Mars; now we know it’s pointless to shout at someone or even have audible alarms. The snap of a tunneling laser, the puff of a dust-clearing blower, and the constant hum of Ingenuity’s rotors as it lifts flight were among the sounds picked up by the rover’s microphone, despite the fact that it was some distance away. In the playlist below, you may hear the sounds of Mars.