Analysis of sounds recorded by the Perseverance rover helped calculate their speed

(ORDO NEWS) — An international team of researchers, analyzing sounds recorded by the Perseverance rover, determined the speed of sound on Mars. Baptist Chid of Los Alamos National Laboratory gave a talk at the 53rd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference this year outlining the team’s findings.

The Perseverance rover successfully landed on the surface of Mars just over a year ago and has been rolling around ever since, studying the landscape with a variety of cameras and sensors.

Perseverance was also equipped with a microphone that allowed the rover to transmit the first sounds ever heard in a distant world. In this new study, the scientists analyzed the sounds sent by Perseverance to see if they could reveal anything useful.

Chid said the team used microphone data to measure the speed of sound on Mars. This was done by measuring the amount of time it took for the sounds from Perseverance’s mini-laser blasts to return to the rover’s microphone.

Laser blasts have been used to vaporize nearby rocks to learn more about their composition. They found that sound travels across Mars at about 240 m/s. But they also found that different frequencies of sound travel at different speeds on Mars.

The speed increases by about 10 m/s above 400 Hz. This discovery suggests that communication on Mars will be extremely difficult, as different parts of speech reach listeners at different times, making conversations garbled.

Chid says the microphone also made it possible to measure temperatures on the Martian surface in and around the rover. This is because sound travels at different speeds depending on temperature.

By measuring the speed of sound every time Perseverance fired its laser, the researchers were able to calculate rapid changes in temperature.

Chid also noted that the research team plans to continue monitoring and analyzing sounds from Mars throughout the year to learn more about fluctuations during various events on the planet, such as the winter months or when the planet goes through dust storms.

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