The world has seen a number of videos showing NASA’s ingenuity flying above the surface of Mars, but now, for the first time, we can hear the hum of its tiny rotors spinning.
The low hum of the blades rotating at over 2,500 rpm is barely audible and almost sounds like a deep, distant mosquito.
The US space agency released the “surprising” audio captured by its Perseverance rover, which was parked 262 feet from the helicopter as it passed through the thin Martian atmosphere on its fourth flight on April 30.
This is the first time that a spacecraft on another planet has recorded the sounds of a separate spacecraft.
In addition to the first sounds of the helicopter, NASA is also sharing a video of the flight that saw it “fly further and faster than ever”.
The $ 85 million drone traveled 872 feet (266 meters) to a height of 16 feet (5 meters) for two minutes.
The small NASA helicopter is expected to make its fifth flight on Friday, but this mission is different from the previous one as it will land somewhere outside the designated “Wright Brothers Field”.
Ingenuity is about to return to the stages of its fourth flight, climbing to 16 feet and heading south 423 feet (129 meters), but instead of turning around and re-entering, the helicopter will reach a new height record of 10 meters (33 feet). .
After a total flight time of approximately 110 seconds, Ingenuity will land, making its first one-way trip.
Liftoff is scheduled for 12:33 p.m. local March time (3:26 p.m. EDT) and data drops at 7:31 p.m. EDT.
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NAS released a “surprising” sound captured from its Perseverance rover, which was parked 262 feet from the helicopter as it passed through the thin Martian atmosphere on its fourth flight on April 30.
Ingenuity traveled through the belly of perseverance as the couple traveled the 239 million miles to Mars and for days after they landed on February 18.
The four-pound helicopter has shown it can hold its own after completing four successful flights to Mars, earning it a promotion as a Scout for Perseverance.
The pair provided NASA with a number of “first” moments on Mars, with the most recent being captured on April 30.
NASA had Perseverance seated 80 meters (262 feet) from the helicopter’s take-off and landing point, Wright Brothers Field, during the helicopter’s fourth flight.
NASA had Perseverance seated 80 meters (262 feet) from the helicopter’s take-off and landing point, Wright Brothers Field (pictured), during the helicopter’s fourth flight. In the photo, Ingenuity’s flight path
It wasn’t clear if the rover’s microphone could pick up the sounds of the flight, but that didn’t stop him from trying.
Thin atmosphere on Mars makes it difficult to capture sounds
Sounds on Mars are slightly different from what they are on Earth due to the atmospheric composition and its properties.
The atmosphere on Mars is 95% carbon dioxide, 3% nitrogen and 1.6% argon, as well as a lot of dust.
Mars has a rarefied atmosphere with “roughly 1% of the density of Earth,” according to NASA.
NASA says the sounds will be lower in volume due to the low pressure on the Red Planet.
Higher frequency tones will be strongly attenuated by carbon dioxide molecules.
Although the sound comes from Ingenuity’s rotating rotors, the sounds are muffled by the thin Martian atmosphere.
He was also disturbed by the gusts of wind when the helicopter took off for the first time.
In the air, the helicopter’s blades spin at 2537 rpm and a slight hum is heard throughout the audio clip.
Ingenuity flights are difficult due to conditions very different from those on Earth – foremost of which a rarefied atmosphere is less than 1% the density of ours.
And that hinders the ability to capture clear sound on the Red Planet.
David Mimoun, professor of planetary science at the Institut Supérieur de l’Aéronautique et de l’Espace (ISAE-SUPAERO) in Toulouse, France, and scientific manager of the SuperCam Mars microphone, said: “It’s a very good surprise. .
“We had performed tests and simulations which told us that the microphone would hardly pick up the sounds of the helicopter, because the atmosphere of Mars strongly dampens the propagation of sound. We were fortunate enough to record the helicopter at such a distance.
“This recording will be a gold mine for our understanding of the Martian atmosphere. “
Scientists have made the audio, which is recorded in mono, easier to hear by isolating the sound of the 84 hertz helicopter blades, reducing frequencies below 80 hertz and above 90 hertz and increasing the volume of the signal remaining, NASA shared in a statement.
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.
Soren Madsen, Perseverance Payload Development Manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, said, “This is an example of how the different payload instrument suites complement each other, this which results in a synergy of information.
In the air, the helicopter’s blades spin at 2537 rpm and a slight hum is heard throughout the audio clip
Ingenuity is about to retrace the stages of its fourth flight, climbing to 16 feet and heading south 423 feet (129 meters), but instead of turning around and re-entering, the helicopter will reach a new height record of 10 meters (33 feet). . Pictured is an image taken by Ingenuity on its fourth flight
“JPL has built perseverance as well as ingenuity and leverages them both.
“In this particular case, the microphone and video allow us to observe the helicopter as if we were there, and additional information, such as Doppler shift, confirms the details of the flight path. “
Following that premiere, Ingenuity will perform another later today when it hits a new height record and lands in a different location on Mars.
Josh Ravich, Ingenuity Mars Helicopter Mechanical Engineering Lead at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said: “Ingenuity’s fifth flight is scheduled for Friday, May 7th. As always (at least so far), our take-off time is set at 12:33 p.m. local March time (3:26 p.m. EDT or 12:26 p.m. PDT), with data at 7:31 p.m. EDT (4:31 p.m. EDT). PDT).
“Ingenuity will take off at Wright Brothers Field – the same place the helicopter took off and landed on all other flights – but it will land somewhere else, which is another first for our rotorcraft. “
NASA MARCH 2020: MISSION TO SEE PERSEVERANCE ROVER AND INGENUITY HELICOPTER SEARCH FOR LIFE
NASA’s Mars 2020 mission will look for signs of ancient life on the Red Planet in an effort to help scientists better understand how life evolved on Earth.
Named Perseverance, the car-sized main rover explores an ancient river delta in Jezero Crater, which was once filled with a 1,600-foot-deep lake.
The region is believed to have housed microbial life around 3.5 to 3.9 billion years ago and the rover will examine soil samples for evidence of life.
NASA’s Mars 2020 rover (artist’s impression) searches for signs of ancient life on Mars in an effort to help scientists better understand how life evolved on our own planet
The $ 2.5 billion (£ 1.95 billion) Mars 2020 spacecraft launched on July 30 with the rover and helicopter inside – and landed successfully on February 18, 2021.
Perseverance has landed inside the crater and will collect samples that will eventually be sent back to Earth for further analysis.
A second mission will fly to the planet and return the samples, perhaps at the end of the 2020s in partnership with the European Space Agency.
This concept art shows the Mars 2020 rover landing on the Red Planet via NASA’s sky-crane system