In its travels, the microphone aboard the Mars Rover Perseverance has captured a number of unusual noises, but “deep quiet reigns” on the red planet for the most part. In this compilation of sounds from the mission, you can still hear the “puff, whir, zap” of the rover’s tools, the hum of the Ingenuity helicopter, and the whoosh of a mild Martian breeze.
When researchers reused several sensors on the Insight Mars Lander, we heard the sound of Mars in an indirect way, but this is a far more targeted recording. You can learn about the atmosphere and other things that affect it by comparing how an action or event sounds on Mars to how it would sound on Earth.
“It’s a new sense of research we’ve never utilized before on Mars,” said University of Toulouse astrophysicist Silvestre Maurice, lead author of a study published today in Nature. As stated in the abstract:
The findings effectively show that sound on Mars is both sluggish to move and quick to fade away.
At sea level on Earth, the speed of sound is approximately 767 miles per hour. It was measured at 537 MPH on Mars, though this will alter as the air pressure rises and falls with the seasons. On Earth, a medium-sized sound such as a voice fades after around 200 feet, whereas on Mars, the same sound travels only 26 feet before becoming inaudible.
That’s useful information for creating systems for work and life on Mars; now we know it’s pointless to yell at someone or even have audible alarms.