What does a dust devil sound like on Mars? A NASA roaming microphone was triggered by accident when a tower of red dust passed just above his head, recording the paddle.
It takes about 10 seconds for not only gusts of 25 mph gusts, but hundreds of dust particles to whiz against the rover’s tenacity. Scientists made the first sound of its kind on Tuesday.
It sounds strikingly similar to dust devils on Earth, though it’s quieter because Mars’ thin atmosphere makes sounds more muffled and winds less strong, according to the researchers.
The dust devil came and went over persistence quickly last year, and thus the short length of the sound, said Naomi Murdoch of the University of Toulouse, lead author of the study that appears in Nature Communications. At the same time, the parked rover’s navigation camera took pictures, while a weather observation instrument collected data.
“It was completely tuned in by Percy,” said co-author German Martinez of the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston.
Dust devils have been photographed on Mars for decades and have not yet been heard of, and they are common on the Red Planet. This was in the middle range: no less than 400 feet high and 80 feet wide, traveling at 16 feet per second.
Murdoch, who helped build it, said the microphone picked up 308 sounds of dust as the dust devil whipped.
“Catching a passing dust devil takes some luck,” NASA wrote on Tuesday. “Scientists can’t predict when they will pass by, so rovers like Perseverance and Curiosity routinely watch them in all directions. When scientists see them repeatedly at a certain time of day, or approach from a certain direction, they use that information to focus their observation in an effort to catch a demon.” the dust “.
With the rover’s SuperCam microphone being played for less than three minutes every few days, Murdoch said she was “definitely lucky” for the dust devil to appear when it appeared on Sept. 27, 2021. She estimates there was only a 1-in-200 chance of catching a dust sound. evil.
Of the 84 minutes collected in its first year, she wrote in an e-mail from France, “there is only one recording of the Dust Devil.”
That same microphone on the Perseverance mast provided the first sounds from Mars — namely, the Martian wind — shortly after the rover touched down in February 2021. This was followed by the sound of the rover humming by and its companion helicopter, a little inventive, flying nearby as well, like the crackling of lasers. The detonator of the rover, which is the main cause of the microphone.
Murdoch said these recordings allow scientists to study Martian winds, atmospheric turbulence and dust movement now as never before. The results “illustrate the value of acoustic data in space exploration.”
In rock hollows that may contain signs of ancient microbial life, Perseverance has collected 18 samples so far at Jezero Crater, once the landscape of a river delta. NASA plans to return these samples to Earth a decade from now. The helicopter recorded 36 creative flights, the longest of which took nearly three minutes.
NASA captured an image of a 12-mile-high dust devil in 2012.
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