NASA’s Perseverance rover captures audio of Martian winds

Mars Landing
Posted at 11:16 PM, Mar 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-10 23:16:12-05

Weeks after NASA’s Perseverance rover landed on Mars, NASA released audio files of the wind blowing on the red planet.

The first recording was made on Feb. 19, 18 hours after Perseverance landed on Mars.

According to NASA, winds on Mars can top 60 mph, which is akin to a severe thunderstorm on Earth. While the winds on Mars can get quite gusty, they rarely pack a punch. The Martian atmosphere has just 1% the air pressure of Earth, meaning 60 mph winds would barely be felt.

“Focusing on wind speed may be a little misleading, as well,” said Kathryn Mersmann of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. “The atmosphere on Mars is about 1 percent as dense as Earth’s atmosphere. That means to fly a kite on Mars, the wind would need to blow much faster than on Earth to get the kite in the air.”

Two of the files released by NASA were of the Martian winds. A third audio filed was an acoustic recording of laser shots that were zapping a rock to test what it’s made of.

“The sounds acquired are remarkable quality,” says Naomi Murdoch, a research scientist and lecturer at the ISAE-SUPAERO aerospace engineering school in Toulouse. “It’s incredible to think that we’re going to do science with the first sounds ever recorded on the surface of Mars!”

Perseverance is tasked with examining rocks that are up to 3.6 billion years old in hopes of finding evidence of life in Mars’ ancient past.