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Mars has two speeds of sound, NASA audio recording reveals

Listen to the noises captured by the Mars Perseverance rover 


A NASA recording has revealed that Mars has two speeds of sound.

The audio was recorded using microphones on the car-sized Mars Perseverance rover – which was launched from Florida's Space Coast as part of NASA's Mars 2020 mission to explore the Red Planet's Jezero Crater – and analysed by a group of scientists.

In a study published by the Nature journal on 1st April, scientists presented their analysis of the first five hours of sound captured by the microphones, explaining that sound travels more slowly, and a shorter distance, on Mars than it does on Earth due to "the thin, cold, carbon dioxide atmosphere".

Some of the sounds recorded by the Perseverance included the acoustic waves generated by "the crackling strike of a rock-zapping laser" and the "the whir of rotors" from the Mars helicopter, Ingenuity.

However, recordings from Mars demonstrated a delay effect, with scientists noting that sound seems to travel at two different speeds close to the Red Planet's surface – one for high-pitched noises like the laser zapping and another for lower frequencies like the rotor whir of the helicopter.

"On Earth, sounds typically travel at 767 mph (343 meters per second). But on Mars, low-pitched sounds travel at about 537 mph (240 meters per second), while higher-pitched sounds move at 559 mph (250 meters per second)", concluded NASA.

Check out some of the recordings captured by the two microphones below and visit NASA's site to hear more audio from Mars Perseverance rover.

In November, NASA shared a musical representation of a nebula in deep space – the Butterfly Nebula – using data sonification, which involves converting data to sound.