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We might soon discover the sounds of Mars

Today, we can witness a significant moment in history, and follow the Martian landing of the rover Perseverance live. If that wouldn’t be enough, we can also get familiar with the sounds of the Martian atmosphere for the first time—a special microphone that records space sounds was developed in collaboration with a Los Angeles singer.

NASA sent its most advanced space probe to date in order to look for traces of ancient life on the red planet. The rover will expectably need seven minutes to descend to the surface from the upper layers of the atmosphere, which scientists call the “seven minutes of terror .” For the—hopefully successful—journey and landing, they’ll use the same strategies they did at the 2012 Curiosity mission. A new feature, however, is that the microphones built into the rover allow us to study the sounds of landing: we are expected to hear the friction of the atmosphere, the Martian winds, the sounds of scattering dust as the rover lands, and later even the sounds of the extraterrestrial environment, which is a first in the history of Mars probes.

Source: designboom

Although the question of space acoustics hasn’t been a top priority so far, attempts have been made to record the sounds of Mars in the past. This is the first time, however, for us to listen closely to the soundscape of Mars in a coherent way, in the form of a real recording—all thanks to Los Angeles-based rock musician and composer, Jason Achilles Mezilis. Jason has been a space fan all his life and, as an audio engineer, has extensive knowledge of microphones. He began to wonder if it was possible to mount a microphone on the Perseverance lander back in 2016.

Photo: Phuc Pham

Sound recordings will not only provide a new experience for space enthusiasts, but it will also serve as a diagnostic tool for the rover, or even an early warning system for mechanical faults. It can also help NASA scientists to better understand the environment on Mars.

Photo: Phuc Pham
Source: designboom

You can read the full story as an interview on Wired. The landing of NASA’s robot is expected to take place tonight at 9:55 PM CET.

Cover picture: designboom

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Source: Wired

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