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Here’s what Mars actually sounds like

Published Mar 10th, 2021 9:06PM EST
mars wind
Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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Humans may one day travel to the surface of Mars. In fact, NASA has tentative plans to launch a mission to Mars at some point in the 2030s, but at the moment those plans are little more than scribbled on the back of a napkin. In the meantime, NASA and other space agencies are wasting no time in studying Mars with the technology we already have available, and the newly-landed Perseverance rover is currently the most capable and high-tech machine on the surface of the Red Planet.

Now, for the first time, NASA’s beefy new rover has opened its mechanical ear canals (or just turned on its microphone) and listened to what Mars has to say. It’s not much, but the rover sent back the mission’s very first audio recording just hours ago. The 20-second clip doesn’t include the yelps of any Martians, but it does remind us just how similar Mars is to Earth.

The clip may be short, but in the brief 20 seconds that the mic was hot it picked up what can only be described as a very Earth-like breeze. You could be forgiven for thinking this audio clip was captured right here on Earth during a windy day, but it was actually recorded on a planet that is currently 145,212,797 miles away from our planet. The fact that we can even listen to it is pretty wild stuff if you ask me.

The audio does come across as a bit muffled, but NASA has a very good explanation for the relatively poor sound quality:

“This recording was made by the SuperCam instrument on NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover on Feb. 19, 2021, just about 18 hours after landing on the mission’s first sol or Martian day,” NASA explains in the description of the audio recording on SoundCloud. “The rover’s mast, holding the microphone, was still stowed on Perseverance’s deck, and so the sound is muffled, a little like the sound one hears listening to a seashell or having a hand cupped over the ear. Just a little wind can be heard.”

So, the microphone will likely be able to capture some more impressive audio clips in the future, but because it was recording from its stowed position it sounds a bit like it was recorded inside of a tin can. Oh well!

Perseverance just recently started moving on Mars, driving a short distance to prove that its legs (well, wheels) are in proper working order after the long journey from Earth. In the near future, the rover will finally get to begin its scientific objectives, and if previous NASA rovers are any indication of the build quality of Perseverance, we can expect many years of exciting discoveries to come. While we wait, we’ll just keep this Mars wind on repeat as we drift off to sleep.