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NASA releases first audio from Mars

WORLD: The US space agency NASA yesterday (Feb 22) released the first audio from Mars, a faint crackling recording of wind captured by the Perseverance rover.


By AFP

Tuesday 23 February 2021, 09:48AM


A video grab photo of the parachute used in the landing of NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars. Photo: NASA.

A video grab photo of the parachute used in the landing of NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars. Photo: NASA.

NASA also released the first video of the landing of the rover on the Red Planet.

A microphone did not work during the rover’s descent to the surface but it was able to capture audio once it landed on Mars.

NASA engineers played a short recording.

“What you hear there 10 seconds in is an actual wind gust on the surface of Mars picked up by the microphone and sent back to us here on Earth,” said Dave Gruel, lead engineer for the camera and microphone system on Perseverance.

The high-definition video clip, lasting three minutes and 25 seconds, shows the heat shield protecting the rover dropping away and the deployment of a massive red-and-white parachute.

It then shows the rover’s touchdown in Mars’ Jezero Crater in a cloud of dust.

“This is the first time we’ve ever been able to capture an event like the landing on Mars,” said Michael Watkins, director of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

“These are really amazing videos,” Watkins said. “We bingewatched them all weekend.”

Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s associate administrator for science, said the video of Perseverance’s descent is “the closest you can get to landing on Mars without putting on a pressure suit.”

Jessica Samuels, Perseverance’s surface mission manager, said the rover was operating as expected so far.

“I am happy to report that Perseverance is healthy and is continuing with activities as we have been planning them,” Samuels said.

She said the team was preparing for a flight by the rover’s small helicopter.

“The team is still evaluating,” she said. “We have not locked in a site yet.”

Perseverance was launched on July 30, 2020 and landed on the surface of Mars last Thursday.

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