Sound Travels Much Slower on Mars

This Article is part of The Red Planet, our series on Mars. {alertSuccess}

Sound travels far slower on Mars than it does on Earth, according to researchers reviewing recordings made by microphones on NASA's Perseverance rover. The scientists examined at recordings dating back to February 19, 2021, the day after the rover arrived on the planet, according to a paper published in Nature on Friday.

The researchers were able to compare Martian sounds to Earth noises by using recorded sounds from the rover, such as shock waves from the rover's laser that was used to break rocks and flying sounds from the Ingenuity helicopter. They discovered that sound travels on Mars at a speed of 100 meters per second slower than on Earth.

Furthermore, the researchers discovered that on Mars, there are two sound speeds: one for high-pitched noises and another for low-pitched ones. According to a news release announcing the findings, this would "make it difficult for two persons standing merely five meters away to have a discussion."

The extraordinarily low atmospheric surface pressure creates a unique acoustic environment. The pressure on Mars is 170 times lower than on Earth. A high-pitched voice, for example, travels 213 feet on Earth but only 26 feet on Mars.

While human ears can detect sounds on Mars, they are quite faint.

According to NASA, Sylvestre Maurice, an astronomer at the University of Toulouse in France and the study's principal author, said, "At one point, we believed the microphone was broken because it was so quiet." "Natural sound sources are rare," according to the press release.

However, NASA scientists believe that during the autumn months, when atmospheric pressure is higher, Mars may become noisier.

In a news statement, research co-author Baptiste Chide noted, "We are entering a high-pressure season." "Perhaps the aural environment on Mars will be noisier than when we first arrived."

Researchers declared the first recordings to be the first time sounds from another planet had ever been caught when they were made last year.

The recordings, according to Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, are "the closest you can get to landing on Mars without putting on a pressure suit."

Perseverance is presently searching the Jezero Crater for clues of ancient life. It was discovered in October that Mars was subjected to "major" flash floods that shaped the surface into the rocky wasteland we know today. The rover also intends to be the first to send samples from Mars back to Earth in a decade.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post