Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Robot Perseverance: NASA broadcasts the “song” of Mars


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The space agency posted on Twitter the first sounds and the first video sent by the Perseverance rover from the red planet. Bluffing.

NASA on Monday released a spectacular video of the landing of its rover Perseverance, the first of its kind, after the mission arrived on Mars Thursday in search of ancient life.

Just over three minutes long, the published video reveals the images of several cameras located in different places on the module, after its entry into the Martian atmosphere: one shows the deployment of the supersonic parachute, another, located under the rover, the Martian soil approaching, and two other views show the rover gradually deposited on the ground, suspended by three cables.

“This is the first time that we have been able to capture an event such as a landing on Mars,” Michael Watkins, director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory where the rover was built, told a press conference. “It’s really fantastic.”

Martian breeze

In the process, the American space agency broadcast the first sounds picked up by Perseverance on the surface of the planet. In the extract, we can hear a shrill sound produced by the rover, but also clearly the wind.

“Yes, you have just heard a squall on the surface of Mars, captured by the microphone and sent back to Earth,” said Dave Gruel, in charge of this equipment for NASA. These are “the first sounds recorded on the surface of Mars,” he added.

Perseverance took two microphones, one of which is located on the SuperCam science instrument, an ultra-sophisticated camera the size of a shoebox. “We are hopeful that we can continue to use these mics to capture sound,” said Dave Gruel.

Previous missions had already attempted to send microphones to Mars, but never succeeded in fulfilling the objective.

NASA’s InSight robot, which arrived on Mars in November 2018, had recorded multiple seismic tremors, thanks to an ultra-sensitive seismometer. The frequency of the vibrations was too low for the human ear, but the recordings had been processed and accelerated to become audible thanks to a technique known as “sonification”.

(AFP)





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