The United States’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has released the first footage captured on Mars by the Perseverance rover. The rover was launched in July 2020 and landed on the surface of the red planet on Feburary 18, 2021.
The rover has begun using its SuperCam instrument to capture video and audio footage in search of signs of past life on Mars, NASA announced. The SuperCam is equipped with a microphone that has recorded the first sounds of the wind on the planet.
The officer Twitter account of the rover shared the clip with the caption: “Things are sounding really good here. Listen to the first sounds of wind captured by my SuperCam microphone. This mic is located at the top of my mast. For this recording, my mast was still down so the sound is a bit muffled.”
“It is amazing to see SuperCam working so well on Mars,” said Roger Wiens, the principal investigator for Perseverance’s SuperCam instrument from Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, according to NASA. “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.”
“The sounds acquired are remarkable quality,” says Naomi Murdoch, a research scientist and lecturer at the ISAE-SUPAERO aerospace engineering school in Toulouse. “It’s incredible to think that we’re going to do science with the first sounds ever recorded on the surface of Mars!”
The mission released three SuperCam audio files on March 9.
“Obtained only about 18 hours after landing, when the mast remained stowed on the rover deck, the first file captures the faint sounds of Martian wind,” said NASA.
SuperCam was developed jointly by the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in New Mexico and a consortium of French research laboratories under the auspices of the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES).