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Arts Culture NASA SuperCam: Listen To The First Sound Recording On Mars

NASA SuperCam: Listen To The First Sound Recording On Mars

Combining two images, this mosaic shows a close-up view of the rock target named “Yeehgo” from the SuperCam instrument on NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars. The component images were taken by SuperCam’s Remote Micro-Imager (RMI). To be compatible with the rover’s software, “Yeehgo” is an alternative spelling of “Yéigo,” the Navajo word for diligent.
Photo: NASA / JPL-Caltech / LANL / CNES / CNRS / ASU / MSSS
By Christine Andas
By Christine Andas
March 12, 2021
The SuperCam instrument aboard NASA's Perseverance rover returns to earth with results—including the very first audio recorded on Mars

“It is amazing to see SuperCam working so well on Mars. When we first dreamed up this instrument eight years ago, we worried that we were being way too ambitious. Now it is up there working like a charm," shared the principal investigator for Perseverance’s SuperCam instrument, Roger Wiens, from Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.

Less than a month ago, NASA's Perseverance rover successfully landed on Mars, taking along the first helicopter and a SuperCam instrument on the Red Planet. While the Ingenuity helicopter was hinged at the belly of the Perseverance rover, the SuperCam instrument was perched on the head of its mast.

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Photo: CNES
Photo: CNES

NASA's SuperCam is led by Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, the same place where the instrument's Body Unit was developed.

It was designed to examine rocks and soil using a camera, laser, and spectrometers. It was sent to the Red Planet in search of organic compounds that could reveal more information about Mars' past life which can help us understand it better.

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It has a 12-pound sensor head that can perform five types of analyses to study the geology of Mars. This can help scientists choose which rocks shall be sampled by the rover. Fortunately, the SuperCam yielded interesting results.

We now can view the rock named "Máaz” (which translates to Mars) up close which was taken by the SuperCam's Remote Micro-Imager. Another rock named "Yeehgo", an alternate spelling of the Navajo word "Yéigo" which translates to diligent, was also photographed using the SuperCam instrument.

Photo: NASA
Photo: NASA

On 9 March 2021, the SuperCam released audio files which were obtained 18 hours after landing. ISAE-SUPAERO research scientist and lecturer Naomi Murdoch shared, “The sounds acquired are remarkable quality. It’s incredible to think that we’re going to do science with the first sounds ever recorded on the surface of Mars!”

Thanks to NASA's SuperCam, we can now hear the first audio recording captured on Mars. The SuperCam was able to capture the sound of the wind and laser shots on Mars.

“SuperCam truly gives our rover eyes to see promising rock samples and ears to hear what it sounds like when the lasers strike them. This information will be essential when determining which samples to cache and ultimately return to Earth through our groundbreaking Mars Sample Return Campaign, which will be one of the most ambitious feats ever undertaken by humanity," Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for science at NASA Headquarters in Washington, explained.

You can listen to the sounds taken from Mars through NASA's Soundcloud here.

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