National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has an interesting collection of sounds from space and its recent audio comes straight from the interplanetary flight. On Wednesday, the American space agency posted the audio on its SoundCloud account recorded by the latest Mars rover. A microphone aboard NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover recorded the sounds of the spacecraft as it hurtled through interplanetary space.
The rover recorded the subtle sounds of its own inner workings during the flight, while another mic aboard the rover is intended specifically to listen for the laser zaps of the SuperCam instrument. On its website, NASA explained that the sound was recorded by the mic that is devoted to capturing some or all of the entry, descent, and landing (EDL) sequence. This includes activities from the firing of the mortar that releases the parachute to the Mars landing engines kicking into the rover wheels crunching down onto the surface.
Now, you may wonder how come the sound was recorded in space despite the presence of vacuum?
NASA explained that the presence of a vacuum does not mean sound cannot find another way. Sound waves can travel through solid objects even in space. So when these mechanical vibrations are registered by an electrical component, they sometimes are turned into an electrical signal. The process is similar to when we listen to music through in-ear headphones and encounter this phenomenon as a rustling or thumping noise when the headphone cord brushes up against a surface.
DPA Microphones of Alleroed, Denmark processed the sound file. The company also manufactured the EDL microphone hardware flying on Mars 2020.
NASA says the Perseverance rover is the most sophisticated rover travelling to Mars with the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter. They will enter the Martian atmosphere next year on February 18, at 12:47 p.m. PST (3:47 p.m. EST) and will touchdown at Jezero Crater 410 seconds later.