Following the first-ever aerial color photo of Mars, captured by the space agency’s Mars Ingenuity helicopter last month, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration has shared groundbreaking audio from the same exhibition, recording the sound of the helicopter flying above the Martian surface.
This historic moment marks the first time a spacecraft has recorded the sounds of a separate spacecraft on another planet. In the audio clip below, you can hear NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover documenting the sound of Mars Ingenuity’s helicopter blades.
Scientists made the audio, which is recorded in mono, easier to hear by isolating the 84 hertz helicopter blade sound, reducing the frequencies below 80 hertz and above 90 hertz, and increasing the volume of the remaining signal. Some frequencies were clipped to bring out the helicopter’s hum, which is loudest when the helicopter passes through the field of view of the camera.
“We had carried out tests and simulations that told us the microphone would barely pick up the sounds of the helicopter, as the Mars atmosphere damps the sound propagation strongly. We have been lucky to register the helicopter at such a distance.”
“This recording will be a gold mine for our understanding of the Martian atmosphere.”
Listen to the sounds from the surface of Mars here.