Turn up the volume to hear the first sounds from Mars!

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The Perseverance rover landed on Mars on February 18th to begin its mission of studying the Martian environment. It landed in Jezero crater, located north of the equator on Mars, at the end of a voyage of more than 6 months after taking off from Earth! It is an international technological success for the space adventure with NASA. Operations for the Mars 2020 Mission have begun on the surface of the red planet and today, for the first time, we can hear sounds from Mars thanks to the microphone designed by researchers at ISAE-SUPAERO.

The main purpose of Perseverance is to select samples of Mars to be gathered and then brought back to Earth in order to determine whether or not there was ever life on the 4th planet of our solar system. On board, the Martian microphone developed by our researchers will record sound on Mars for the first time and help achieving the mission. It is attached to SuperCam, the sophisticated Franco-American instrument mounted on Perseverance’s mast.

The scientific microphone records the sound generated by the laser impact of the LIBS on the rock up to a distance of 4 meters. The formation of the plasma is indeed accompanied by a clicking sound, the recording of which provides information on the physical properties of the rocks. This microphone can also record wind noise and sounds produced by the rover itself. "The sounds acquired are of remarkable quality!" says Naomi Murdoch, teacher-researcher at ISAE-SUPAERO. "It’s incredible to think that we are going to do science with the very first sounds recorded on the surface of Mars!"

The first sounds of Mars


The first sound recording on Mars (even before the one released by NASA), SOL 1 is shorter, with a hint of wind at the beginning. It sounds muffled because the recording was taken when the Rover mast (and then the microphone) was still stowed. Sound is filtered to remove tones from the rover electronics activity.


SOL4 recording is the first wind recording. You can hear the sound of the wind.
Sound is filtered to remove tones from the rover electronics activity.

SOL 12

SOL12 recording is the Laser LIBS recording while firing on a target.
It is actually higher pitched than what we expected.
Sound is filtered to remove tones from the rover electronics activity.


Panorama of Perseverance on Mars

Here is a fabulous panorama in equirectangular projection, 360°x180°, of Perseverance in the Jezero crateria.
This impressive work has been made by Thomas Appéré and published on his Twitter account.


Credit panorama: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS/Thomas Appéré

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