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Mic check: Listen to NASA’s Mars rover traveling through space

Perseverance set to arrive on Mars in February

The Perseverance rover carries seven instruments to conduct its science and exploration technology investigations. (Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech)
The Perseverance rover carries seven instruments to conduct its science and exploration technology investigations. (Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech) (WKMG 2020)

More than halfway to the red planet after launching from Florida in July NASA’s Mars rover Perseverance is coming in hot -- on the microphone.

Perseverance, also known as Mars 2020, launched from Cape Canaveral on a ULA Altas V rocket this July.

The robot may look like NASA’s well-known rover, Curiosity, currently roving around on Mars but this bot has a whole new suite of instruments, cameras and two microphones on board. One mic is designed to listen to the pew-pew sounds from the rover’s laser on the SuperCam instrument, another will listen to the Mars atmosphere entry, descent down to the surface and touchdown.

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This week NASA released the soothing sounds of a little space travel from one of the microphones. It sounds somewhat like my microwave heating up lunch but is way more exciting.

The recording below was captured using the EDL --or entry, descent and landing--microphone that will listen to the rover’s touchdown in the Martian Jezero Crater next year.

According to NASA’s news release, the vacuum of space is not great for audio transmissions. The sound is traveling through mechanical vibrations and processed by DPA Microphones in Denmark, the company that made the microphone.

It will be a surprise come landing day what the mic picks up because it wasn’t originally designed for space travel.

David Gruel, Mars 2020 assembly, test and launch manager with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory said, if the microphone works for landing it will be nice but not necessary.

“If it doesn’t happen, it will not impede the rover’s mission of discovery at Jezero Crater one bit,” Gruel said. “If even a portion of the landing sequence is captured on audio, that would be awesome.”

Perseverance, along with the Ingenuity Mars helicopter, are scheduled to arrive on Feb. 18, 2021.

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