NASA Mission to make it Possible to Hear Sound from Mars

Published: July 23, 2020

The Perseverance Rover from NASA is going to fulfil a long-pending wish of mankind to hear sounds from the red planet, Mars. Eight missions so far have returned from the planet with pictures and images but not a single mission has been able to capture the sound from Mars.

The Perseverance Rover is going to have two microphones and it is being launched by NASA to search for signs of past life and collect samples for a future return to earth. One of the microphones onboard will listen as the rover plummets through the Martian atmosphere for landing whereas the other will record sounds as the rover does its scientific work in Jezero Crater, an ancient delta on the planet expected to have some evidence of life.

Background

The idea first generated from the letter written by Carl Sagan, Co-Founder, Planetary Society, to NASA requesting them to send a microphone to Mars. His main objective was that even if a few minutes of sound could be captured, it would create interest in human beings regarding this. Before this mission, three rovers had microphones fitted to them. The first one was in 1999 in the Mars Polar Lander by NASA, which was also the first-ever crowd-funded science instrument to fly to another planet. It crashed on the surface of the planet.

Details of the Microphones on Perseverance

One of the microphones on Perseverance will be part of the Entry, Descent and Landing System (EDL) responsible for safely bringing the rover through the Martian atmosphere. The audio from this will be paired with full-colour video taken by EDL cameras. This will allow viewers to see how the landing is like on Mars.

The second microphone will be included in the SuperCam science instrument, a next-generation version of the Curiosity rover’s laser-zapping ChemCam.

The microphones will also record the sound of Mars itself.

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