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Perseverance Rover Captures the Echoes of Driving on Mars

NASA Perseverance Rover recorded audio of crunching over the surface of the Red Planet. The audio added a whole new perplexion to Mars exploration. The sounds captured were of large intensity and could be heard for about 16 minutes.

“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.”

The off-the-shelf microphone was added to the rover to help take the public along the ride during the touchdown. Besides that, mission members themselves have been curious to hear sounds from the surface too. Contrasting versions of the same audio clip of the same drive got released to the public on March 17.

The first version unravels over 16 minutes of raw unfiltered sounds of the rover traversing in Jezero Crater. The noise generated with the interaction of the Perseverance’s mobility system with the surface can be heard clearly. Perseverance’s engineering team continues to evaluate the source of the scratching sounds.

Whereas on the other hand, the second version is a short compilation of sounds from the longer raw recording. For the compression of the 90-second version, NASA engineers combined three segments of the large audio clips into comprehensive audio by processing and editing them to filter out some of the noise from the drive.

The first audio of a drive across the Martian surface joins a growing playlist of Mars sounds beamed back to Earth from Perseverance. A second microphone, part of the rover’s SuperCam instrument, picked up the sighing of Martian wind and the rapid ticking sound of the instrument’s laser sweeping rocks to reveal details of their structure and composition.

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