Scoop: Perseverance records the sound of a dust storm on Mars

Scoop: Perseverance records the sound of a dust storm on Mars

Perseverance on Mars.Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Like trying to make a phone call while bicycling through the wind. This is what the first recording of a freak storm looks like. However, what seems ordinary upon first hearing is definitely not in reality. After all, the crackling and rustling in the sound syllable comes from about 200 million kilometers away, from a planet other than Earth.

Just as the high-resolution high-resolution images of several generations of Mars rovers have been able to visually transport humanity to the ocher desert plains of Mars, Earthlings now have access to one of the few sounds that break the Martian silence.

This is the first. Because although the mics were somewhat persistent winds on our neighboring planet, never heard of such a “storm”. The recording also has scientific value, the researchers wrote in an analysis on Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications.

118 meters

A dust devil wreaked havoc on Sept. 27 at Jezero Crater, the area where US spacecraft roam Mars in search of interesting soil samples that could help reveal the desert planet’s geological history. By pure chance, the boom went right over the rover, so Perseverance could record audio with its SuperCam microphone. Never before has a sound capture tool like this alien howl. In addition, the Mars rover watched the dust storm with its navigation camera, and with sensors intended to measure the environment.

After analyzing all the measurement data collected in this way, the dust devil was estimated to be 25 meters wide, about ten times the width of the rover itself, and at least 118 meters high. As it passed over Perseverance, the boom was moving across the surface at 11 miles per hour. On the basis of the audible effects produced by the dust trunk and abrasive wind, the car can then roughly determine how often it hits the collected grains of sand. This is important, because the effects of Martian dust are one of the main causes of equipment wear on the Red Planet.

These “dust devils,” as they are called in the United States, are common in Jezero Crater. So scientists hope to encounter more of these types of weapons with the Mars rover in the future. By comparing different images of the dust devils, they hope to build a more comprehensive analysis of how Martian meteorology generates the devils, including determining the role of the surrounding landscape and prevailing temperature. In this way, they also hope to be able to predict larger dust storms, like the one that swept the planet around 2018. And the end of the Mars rover Opportunity.

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