Perseverance Rover shares its first audio recording from Mars
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The Mars rover touched down in Jezero Crater on Thursday night (February 18) on a historic mission to search for evidence of past alien life. NASA pulled off the incredible stunt without a hitch even though the US space agency has dubbed the landing sequence the “seven minutes of terror”. And even as celebrations erupted in the mission’s control room, Perseverance and its team did not rest on its laurels.
Within minutes of landing, the rover had beamed back to Earth its first photos from the planet’s surface.
And as of Tuesday, the mission has already collected more than 30GB of data, including tens of thousands of images and audio recordings from the planet’s surface.
Unlike NASA’s four previous Mars rovers – Sojourner, Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity – Perseverance comes armed with an “off-the-shelf” microphone.
You can listen to the audio and imagine what it would be like to stand on the surface of Mars right now.
NASA has published two clips recorded by the Mars rover – one with the buzz and noise of Perseverance’s machinery and one with the noise filtered out.
In both clips, you can hear the faint sound of a Martian breeze blowing over the microphone.
One person responded to the clips on Soundcloud: “Isn’t it scary somehow? Listening to the atmosphere of another world? It’s frightening and exciting.”
Another person said: “Glad to be alive to witness this!”
And a third person said: “Kinda sounds like Earth if there were no people or plants or animals.”
The audio was recorded on Saturday, February 20, or just two days after Perseverance touched down.
NASA has since also published a video of the rover’s challenging landing sequence.
You can see in the clip the moment the rover deployed its supersonic parachute – the biggest parachute NASA has sent to Mars yet.
The video then cuts to a view of the rover’s protective heat shield being jettisoned, exposing Perseverance’s cameras and instruments to the planet’ surface for the first time.
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The clip then shows the rover touching down, gently lowered to the surface by the Skycrane – a jetpack-like device armed with eight rocket engines.
Steve Jurczyk, acting NASA administrator, said: “For those who wonder how you land on Mars – or why it is so difficult – or how cool it would be to do so – you need look no further.
“Perseverance is just getting started, and already has provided some of the most iconic visuals in space exploration history.
“It reinforces the remarkable level of engineering and precision that is required to build and fly a vehicle to the Red Planet.”
Perseverance was sent to Mars to search for evidence of past life in an ancient lakebed called Jezero Crater.
Scientists believe Jezero Crater flowed with water for billions of years and that means it may have once hosted life.
The Mars rover will collect and analyse rock samples for potential biomarkers of life but will also collect and store samples for future retrieval.
NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) have partnered on a follow-up mission to retrieve the samples and return them to Earth in the 2030s.
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