First sound of NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter flying on Mars

Ingenuity’s first flight was a simple hover.
Picture: NASA / JPL-Caltech / ASU / MSSS ( (Fair use)

A microphone on NASA’s Perseverance rover managed to capture the sounds made by Ingenuity during the helicopter. fourth flight to Mars. This is the first time that a machine on another planet has picked up the sounds emitted by another vehicle.

“It’s a very good surprise,” David Mimoun, chief scientist for the SuperCam Mars microphone, said in a NASA conference. Release.

Indeed, tests on Earth suggested that the rover’s microphone would “barely pick up the sounds of the helicopter,” he said, given the extremely thin atmosphere of Mars, which is about 1% of that. of the earth. Mimoun, professor of planetary science at the Institut Supérieur de l’Aéronautique et de l’Espace in France, said his team “had the chance to record the helicopter at such a distance”, and that “the recording will be a gold mine for our understanding of the Martian atmosphere. “

According to NASA, “Scientists have made audio, which is recorded in mono, easier to hear by isolating the sound of helicopter blades at 84 hertz, reducing frequencies below 80 hertz and above. 90 hertz, and increasing the volume of the remaining signal. Some frequencies have been cut to bring out the helicopter hum, which is strongest as the helicopter passes through the camera’s field of view. Previously, Perseverance used the same instrument to record the laser pulse sounds zapping rock samples.

Perseverance was about 262 feet (80 meters) from the helicopter in flight by the time it recorded the sound. Now that Ingenuity has completed four successful takeoffs and landings, the NASA team is ready to take the experience to the next level, with more ambitious tasks to come. Soon, however, the mission will have to move onto the main agenda, which is looking for signs that life once existed. in Jezero Crater, when Mars had abundant liquid water on its surface.

After: Watch the video of the Perseverance rover landing on Mars

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