NASA’s Mars rover perseverance captured the audio, a video of the helicopter’s original flight – watch it here

For the first time, a spaceship on another planet recorded the sound of a single spaceship. With the fourth flight of the Ingenuity helicopter on April 30, 2021, NASA’s Persevering Mars Rover uses one of its two microphones to listen. A new video combines a solar helicopter lens taken by Perseverance’s Mastcam-Z imager with audio from the microphone, which belongs to the rover’s SuperCam laser instrument. 

The laser breaks the rock at a distance and the steam is studied with a spectrophotometer to reveal its chemical composition. The instrument’s microphone records the sound of these laser impacts, thus providing information on the physical properties of the target, such as its relative stiffness. The microphone can also record surrounding noises like the Martian wind. 

🔊🔴 New sounds from Mars: Our @NASAPersevere rover caught the beats coming from our Ingenuity #MarsHelicopter! This marks the first time a spacecraft on another planet has recorded the sounds of a separate spacecraft.

🎧🚁 Turn the volume up: https://t.co/o7zG6mQJzx pic.twitter.com/s8Hm3dhcgg

— NASA (@NASA) May 7, 2021

When Perseverance was parked 80 meters (262 feet) from the helicopter’s takeoff and landing point, the rover’s mission was uncertain if the microphone would pick up any sound during flight. Even in flight, when the helicopter blades turn at 2,537 rpm, the fine Martian atmosphere greatly masks the sound. In the first moments of the flight, gusts from Mars made it even darker. 

However, listen carefully and then listen to the drone of the helicopter faintly in the breeze. “This is really something very surprising,” said David Mimoun, professor of planetary science at the Institute for Advanced Research and Aerospace Development. In Toulouse, France (ISAE-SUPAERO), the scientific director of the SuperCam Mars microphones. “The tests and simulations we ran told us that because the Martian atmosphere greatly inhibits the propagation of sound, the microphone barely picks up the sound of the helicopter. 

We are lucky to register the helicopter at that distance. By isolating the sound of helicopter blades at 84 Hz, scientists have lowered the frequencies below 80 Hz and above 90 Hz, making it easier to listen to audio recorded in mono, which will become a mine of I pray that we understand the atmosphere of Mars. 

And increase the volume of the remaining signal. Certain frequencies are clipped to enhance the helicopter’s hum. When the helicopter passes through the camera’s field of view, the hum is louder. “This is an example of how different payload instrument kits can complement each other to produce information synergy.” Soren Madsen, Perseverance Payload Development Manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. 

JPL built perseverance and originality and operated both at the same time. “In this particular case, the microphone and video make us look at our helicopter, while other information such as Doppler changes can determine the details of the flight path.” SuperCam is located in Los Alamos, NSW The National Laboratory leads to Mexico, where the body unit of the instrument is developed. 

This part of the instrument includes various spectrometers, control electronics, and software. The mast unit (including the microphone) was developed and built by CNRS (French Research Center), ISAE-Supaéro, and several French university laboratories under the contracting authorization of the National Center for Space Research (French Space Agency). 

The calibration target on the vagabond cover was provided by the University of Valladolid in Spain. Arizona State University collaborated with Marin Space Science Systems in San Diego to lead the operation of the Mastcam-Z instrument. The Mastcam-Z team includes dozens of scientists, engineers, operations experts, managers, and students from various institutions.

More information on Ingenuity: 

The Ingenuity Mars helicopter is built by JPL, which also manages the technology demonstration project at NASA headquarters. It is supported by NASA’s Science, Aeronautical Research, and Space Technology Mission Agency. 

During the development of Ingenuity, NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, California, and NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia provided important flight performance analysis and technical assistance. AeroVironment Inc., Qualcomm, and SolAero also provided design assistance and major auto parts. Lockheed Martin Aerospace designed and manufactured the Mars helicopter delivery system.

Learn more about Perseverance: 

The main focus of the Perseverance mission on Mars is astrobiology, including searching for signs of ancient microbial life. The rover will characterize the earth’s geology and past climate, paving the way for humanity to explore the red planet, and be the first mission to collect and store Martian rocks and heavy rocks (broken rocks and dust). 

NASA’s subsequent mission is to cooperate with ESA (European Space Agency) to send spacecraft to Mars to collect these sealed samples from the surface and then return them to Earth for in-depth analysis. The Perseverance Mars 2020 Mission is part of NASA’s approach to exploring the Moon to Mars, including the Artemis mission. 

JPL is managed and built for NASA by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, California. And he runs the Perseverance Rover operation.

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