NASA’s Perseverance rover has been recording sounds around Mars for the past year, and scientists have deciphered the recording into a five-hour “Martian playlist.” The main takeaway? Very quiet on Mars. The number of natural sounds on the Red Planet, including the atmosphere, is about 20 decibels, more than the same sound on Earth.
“It’s so quiet that, at one point, we thought the microphone was broken!” Baptiste Chide, a post-doctoral consultant at Los Alamos National Lab who specializes in audio recordings, said.
Despite having limited resources, scientists are still discovering. For example, they determine that the Martian wind is exceptionally volatile, changing abruptly from one currency to another.
Researchers also confirm the hypothesis about the unusual sound behavior on Mars. Using specially designed laser sparks released from the Perseverance rover, the team has examined the scattering of noise on Mars, ensuring that high-pitched sounds travel faster than those with low-pitched sounds.
“Mars is the only place in the solar system where that occurs at a reasonable bandwidth due to the unique properties of the carbon dioxide molecule that covers the atmosphere,” Chide said.
Researchers suggest that carbon dioxide in Mars’ atmosphere plays a vital role in the noise era. As carbon dioxide freezes in the Martian poles during the winter, the atmosphere becomes a bit dense, so the volume varies by about 20% during the seasons on Mars.
Chide presented the findings, which are also described in the paper (opens in a new tab), on Wednesday (May 25) at the 182nd meeting of the Acoustic Society of America in Denver.