NASA’s Perseverance Rover began its gruelling journey to Mars in July. The rocket transporting it will take six months to get to the Red Planet, but NASA is already putting the rover to use.
A microphone aboard the rover has been recording the sounds of space as it voyages through the solar system.
NASA has now released those sounds, with eerie results.
As the rover travels through the void of space, a faint humming noise can be heard.
While it may seem that deep space would be dead silent, NASA said this is not the case.
The space agency said in a statement: “As any fan of cinematic sci-fi knows, the vacuum of space is a less-than-optimal environment for auditory transmissions.
“But that doesn’t mean sound can’t find another way. Sound waves can travel through solid objects.
“When these mechanical vibrations are registered by an electrical component, they sometimes are turned into an electrical signal.
“Anyone listening to music through in-ear headphones may have encountered this phenomenon as a rustling or thumping noise when the headphone cord brushes up against a surface.”
The sound file was processed by DPA Microphones of Alleroed, Denmark, which manufactured the microphone on board the rover.
David Gruel, Mars 2020 assembly, test and launch manager, said: “As great as it is to pick up a little audio on spacecraft operations in-flight, the sound file has a more important meaning.
“It means that our system is working and ready to try to record some of the sound and fury of a Mars landing.
“Getting sound from landing is a nice-to-have, not a need-to-have.
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“If it doesn’t happen, it will not impede the rover’s mission of discovery at Jezero Crater one bit.
“If even a portion of the landing sequence is captured on audio, that would be awesome.”
NASA’s Perseverance Rover is set to land on the Red Planet next year.
Some scientists are optimistic that NASA’s Perseverance is the best bet for finding alien life.
Monica Grady, professor of planetary and space sciences at The Open University, wrote in an article for The Conversation: “While this rover will be just one of many on the red planet, it is our best bet for finding life there for the time being.
“Perseverance carries a full complement of scientific instruments that will measure all the usual things that get measured on Mars: the chemistry and mineralogy of the rocks and soil, the amount and type or organic material present at and just below the surface, and so on.
“Perseverance is the first rover to have the capability to drill a core, about 10 centimetres long and one centimetre in diameter, and extract it intact from the drill hole.
“Perseverance will take samples from a range of different rock types as it traverses the crater floor.
“The drill cores will be left in a small pile – a cache – for collection, possibly in early 2027, and subsequent transport back to Earth [estimated arrival time is still not known, but maybe around spring 2032].”
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