Skip to main content

NASA’s Mars sounds open up whole new world for scientists

Perseverance is the first Mars rover to include microphones, an advancement that’s opened up a whole new world of discovery for NASA scientists keen to learn more about the distant planet.

This week, the team overseeing the mission released a collection of audio recordings gathered by Perseverance since its arrival on Mars in February. You can listen to them in the video below. For the best experience, NASA recommends you stick a pair of headphones in before hitting the play button.

NASA's Perseverance Rover Captures the Sounds of Mars

Perseverance is fitted with two commercially available, off-the-shelf microphones: one on the rover’s chassis and the other on its SuperCam, located at the end of the vehicle’s mast.

The recordings include the sound of wind on Mars, giving Mars fans an audio experience. This goes along with existing images of dust devils and dust storms collected by Perseverance and other Mars rovers, including Curiosity.

We also hear the sound of Perseverance driving across the martian surface. Prepare yourself; it sounds nothing like your own car — or anyone else’s, for that matter. Instead, we hear a kind of “clanky, squeaky” sound as the rover’s six metal wheels trundle slowly over the planet’s rocks and sand.

The video also includes the sound of Perseverance’s SuperCam laser zapping rocks. The noise is emitted when the laser strikes the rock, with scientists able to use the audio to find out more about a rock’s properties. So far, the SuperCam microphone has recorded more than 25,000 laser shots, giving scientists plenty of data to sift through.

Finally, check out the deep humming sound of NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter taking flight on Mars. Captured by Perseverance from a distance of 262 feet (80 meters) during the aircraft’s fourth flight in April, scientists believed Mars’ thin atmosphere would prevent the high-pitched noise from reaching the microphone. They were surprised instead to receive a decent recording that appears to show the martian atmosphere is able to propagate sound much better than originally thought.

Commenting on the collection of audio recordings, Nina Lanza of the Los Alamos National Laboratory says in the video: “We’ve all seen these beautiful images that we get from Mars, but having sound to be able to add to those images makes me feel like I’m almost right there on the surface.”

Editors' Recommendations

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
NASA reveals how Mars helicopter just kept getting better and better
nasa video shows how it pushed mars helicopter to the limit ingenuity

It’s been a couple of weeks since NASA’s Mars helicopter, Ingenuity, took its final flight on the red planet.

It was grounded for good after suffering damage to one of its propellers during its 72nd and final flight. But despite the disappointment, it was widely recognized that Ingenuity achieved much since arriving on Mars in February 2021.

Read more
NASA’s Mars copter flew high, fast, far, and long. Here are the key stats
NASA's Ingenuity helicopter.

An artist's impression of the Ingenuity helicopter in flight over Mars. NASA/JPL-Caltech / NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Mars helicopter, Ingenuity, is grounded for good. But it achieved a lot during its almost three-year adventure on the red planet.

Read more
NASA video celebrates Mars helicopter following its final flight
NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter is seen here in a close-up taken by Mastcam-Z, a pair of zoomable cameras aboard the Perseverance rover. This image was taken on April 5, the 45th Martian day, or sol, of the mission.

Legacy of NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter

NASA’s record-setting Mars helicopter, Ingenuity, has taken its final flight, the space agency confirmed on Thursday.

Read more