The National Aeronautical Space Administration (NASA) has published the sound of lasers recorded by the Perseverance rover in the Jezero crater of Mars. The audio clips posted on NASA’s Soundcloud page were recorded by the microphone attached to the SuperCam mounted on the Perseverance rover.
Acoustic recording of laser shots on Mars sounds more like a continuous click, rather than a “bank bench” sound effect that we have heard in the movies. The sound was produced by the laser hitting a rock.
The other two sound recordings shared by the US Space Agency include the first recording on Mars and the wind blowing on the surface. Unsurprisingly, the sound of the wind is very different from that of Earth due to atmospheric pressure on the Red Planet. The sound recording is muffled and almost sounds like it was recorded in the ocean while diving deep. NASA also shared how common sounds on Earth, such as birdsong, bells or whistles, will be nearly inaudible on Mars.
“These recordings have shown that our microphone not only works well, but that we also have a very high quality signal for our scientific studies,” said Naomi Murdoch, a member of the SuperCam team, a researcher at the Institut Supérieur de l’Aéronautique et de l ‘Espace in Toulouse, France, during a live broadcast.
“At the SuperCam team, we are extremely excited about the insights and scientific research that we are going to be able to do with the microphone data,” said Murdoch.
Did you know Some sounds that we are used to on Earth, such as whistles, bells, or birdsong, would be almost inaudible on Mars.
Learn more in the “Sounds from Mars” episode of our Curious Universe podcast.
– NASA (@NASA) March 10, 2021
The sound of the captured laser was that of SuperCam zapping a rock target named Maaz on March 2. This led to the generation of shock waves due to the heat and vibration of the rock vaporization that was recorded by the instrument.
Murdoch says the clicking sound will help determine the rock’s hardness, while the spectrometer and camera will help reveal details about the composition. For example, the rock hit by the SuperCam has a basaltic composition that is common on both Earth and Mars. However, it is not yet clear whether the rock was volcanic or not.
The SuperCam is capable of firing lasers at a target up to 23 feet. This will aid scientists in the composition of the rock in Jezero crater when the rover began its journey. The crater is 45 km wide and was home to an ancient river. The collected samples will help scientists understand the history of the crater and whether or not life existed on the planet.