Washington: NASA’s Mars rover sent the very first audio readings like the fascinating sound of the Martian wind, captured from its SuperCam instrument, home.
The instrument delivered audio data to the French Space Agency’s operations center in Toulouse which includes the first audio of laser zaps on another planet.
“It’s amazing to see SuperCam perform so well on Mars. When we first imagined this instrument eight years ago, we were worried about being way too ambitious. Now it’s up there that works. like a charm, “Roger Wiens, investigating director for Perseverance’s SuperCam instrument, said in a statement Wednesday.
Obtained only about 18 hours after landing, when the mast has remained stowed on the rover’s deck, the first file captures the faint noises of the Martian wind.
The wind is more audible, especially around 20 seconds, in the second sound file, recorded on the rover’s fourth Martian day, or ground.
The third SuperCam file, from Sol 12, includes the zapping sounds of the laser impacting a rock target 30 times from a distance of about 10 feet.
Some zaps sound slightly louder than others, providing information about the physical structure of targets, such as their relative hardness.
It is also the first time that an instrument has used Raman spectroscopy elsewhere than on Earth.
“Raman spectroscopy will play a crucial role in the characterization of minerals to better understand the geological conditions in which they were formed and to detect potential organic and mineral molecules that could have been formed by living organisms,” said Olivier Beyssac , research director at the Center National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) in Paris.
SuperCam was jointly developed by the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in New Mexico and a consortium of French research laboratories under the aegis of CNES.
“SuperCam really gives our rovers their eyes to see promising rock samples and ears to hear what it sounds like when lasers hit them. This information will be critical in determining which samples to cache and ultimately return to Earth thanks to our groundbreaking Mars Sample Return Campaign, ”said Thomas Zurbuchen, Associate Administrator for Science at NASA Headquarters in Washington.
A key focus of Perseverance’s mission to Mars is astrobiology, including looking for signs of ancient microbial life.
The rover will characterize the planet’s geology and past climate, pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet, and be the first mission to collect and hide Martian rock and regolith (broken rocks and dust).