The first audio recordings on Mars reveal a quiet planet with occasional wind gusts where two different speeds of sound have a strange delayed effect on hearing, scientists say. let’s take a look and understand the actual speed of sound on Mars.
After the Perseverance rover landed on Mars in February last year, its two microphones began recording, allowing scientists to hear what our planetary neighbor had to say.
In a study published in the journal Nature, NASA researchers provided their first analysis of the five hours of sound picked up by the robotic rover’s microphones.
The audio revealed previously unknown turbulence on Mars, said Sylvestre Maurice, lead author of the study and co-science director of the shoebox-sized SuperCam mounted on the rover’s mast that holds the main microphone.
The international team listened to the flights of the small Ingenuity helicopter – Perseverance’s little flying companion – and heard the rover’s laser hitting rocks to study their chemical composition, which made a “clack-clack” sound, Maurice told AFP. “We had a very localized sound source, six to 16 feet (2 to 5 meters) from his target, and we knew exactly when he was going to fire.”
The Speed Of Sound On Mars
The study confirmed for the first time that the speed of sound is slower on Mars, traveling at 240 meters per second—compared to 340 meters per second on Earth.
This was expected because the Martian atmosphere is 95 percent carbon dioxide, compared to 0.04 percent on Earth, and is about 100 times thinner, making the sound 20 decibels fainter.
But scientists were surprised when the sound produced by the laser traveled 250 meters per second, 10 meters faster than expected.
“I panicked a bit,” Maurice said. “I told myself that one of the two measurements was wrong because on Earth you only have one speed of sound.”
They had discovered that there are two speeds of sound on the surface of Mars: one for high-pitched sounds, like the zap of a laser, and one for lower frequencies, like the hum of a helicopter rotor.
This means that human ears would hear high-pitched sounds a little earlier.
“On Earth, the sounds of an orchestra reach you at the same speed, whether they are low or high. But imagine on Mars, if you’re a little bit away from the stage, there’s going to be a big delay,” Maurice said.
All of these factors would make it difficult, for example, for two people to hold a conversation only five meters apart.
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