In absence of (but) with the ability to step foot on Mars, now we have robotic vicarious experiences by means of our rovers together with Perseverance which landed this previous February 18th. Along with photographs we’ve collected from the floor over the a long time, our ever-improving knowledge connection to Mars made it potential to see video from Perseverance’s touchdown. That dramatic unfurl of the parachute and mud spray of the touchdown thrusters – astonishing! I’m not ashamed to confess I cried. By Perseverance we’re additionally experiencing Mars exploration with one other sense – SOUND! Sound from one other planet!! Utilizing Perseverance’s Entry, Descent, and Touchdown Microphone (EDL Mic) we not too long ago recorded audio of Perseverance’s wheels rolling throughout the Martian regolith (damaged rocks and mud or “soil”). The audio section beneath is an edited portion of sound highlights from an extended 16 minute raw audio file.
And for those who didn’t catch the video of Perseverance’s touchdown right here it’s!
Vandi Verma, Senior engineer and rover driver at NASA JPL, notes Percy’s wheels are fairly loud given they’re metallic slightly than rubber. The rover’s wheel design has additionally been upgraded from the earlier rover, Curiosity. Each rovers characteristic wheels of flight-grade aluminum with titanium spokes. As Mars rocks expertise little weathering, they characteristic sharp edges and have inflicted injury to Curiosity’s wheels over course of its mission. Consequently, rover operators modified how/the place they’re navigating. Perseverance’s wheel design features a thicker aluminum than Curiosity (1mm vs 0.75mm) and a brand new tread design. In testing, the brand new tread was proven to be extra resilient to sharp rocks and elevated Perseverance’s traction over that of Curiosity’s.
The rover’s wheels grinding in opposition to Martial soil usually are not the one sounds captured from the floor. Perseverance has a second microphone hooked up to its SuperCam, an all-in-one digital camera, microphone, and LASER designed to seek for natural compounds indicative of previous life on Mars. The laser can hit rocks at a distance of seven meters clearing off floor mud permitting SuperCam a clear scan of the goal. Perseverance touched down on the Octavia Butler touchdown zone inside Jezero Crater because of the crater’s historical identification as a lake billions of years in the past. The place there was water, there might have been life, and SuperCam will have the ability to establish soil sorts which have presumably preserved historical microbial fossil samples. SuperCam’s onboard microphone screens the firing of its laser however has additionally captured Martian wind! I received chills listening to this. You’re listening to the ambiance of one other world!
Audio of Martian Wind from Perseverance Rover’s SuperCam c. NASA/JPL
Perseverance is at the moment driving about looking for an appropriate location to deploy its companion, Ingenuity – the first flying rover we’ve ever despatched to a different world. As soon as an “airfield” has been positioned, Ingenuity will start a 30 Sols (A Martian day lasting 24 hours 39 minutes) analysis interval with 5 deliberate check flights. When check flights are full, Perseverance and Ingenuity will start their major mission searching for signs of ancient life. As a part of the mission, Perseverance might be packing and storing Martian soil samples for a future return journey to Earth. Finally these samples could be opened and examined in labs on our personal planet…doesn’t AT ALL sound just like the begin to a sci-fi movie.
As Perseverance continues to rover round Mars, you may really keep up to date on its real-time location utilizing the “Where is Perseverance” web site. Within the meantime, we’re all ready anxiously for Ingenuity’s first flight. Keep tuned!
Function Picture: A few of Perseverance’s first tire tracks as captured by considered one of Percy’s “hazcams” or Hazard Avoidance Cameras. c. NASA/JPL