NASA’s Perseverance rover first captured the low whirring of the blades of the Ingenuity helicopter as it soars through the rarefied Martian atmosphere.
The space agency on Friday released new footage shot by the six-wheeled robot of its rotorcraft mate making its fourth flight on April 30 – this time accompanied by an audio track.
The nearly three-minute video begins with the low rumble of the wind blowing over Jezero Crater, where Perseverance landed in February in an attempt to search for signs of ancient microbial life.
The ingenuity then takes off and its blades can be heard humming softly as they spin at nearly 2,400 rpm on the 262-meter (872-foot) round trip.
Mission engineers weren’t sure they were picking up the flight noise at all, given that Perseverance was parked 80 meters (262 feet) aware of the take-off and landing point.
The Martian atmosphere is about one percent of the density of our planet, which makes everything much quieter than on Earth.
“It’s a very good surprise,” said David Mimoun, professor of planetary science at the Institut Supérieur de l’Aéronautique et de l’Espace (ISAE-SUPAERO) in Toulouse, France, and chief scientist for the SuperCam microphone. March.
“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,” he added.
The SuperCam is an instrument onboard Perseverance that laser zaps rocks from a distance to study their vapor with a device called a spectrometer that reveals their chemical composition.
It also comes with a microphone to record sounds, which gives additional information about the physical properties of targets, like their hardness.
Likewise, Mimoun explained, Ingenuity’s new flight recording “will be a gold mine for our understanding of the Martian atmosphere.”
NASA made the audio, which was recorded in mono, easier to hear by isolating the pitch of the helicopter’s blades to 84 hertz and then reducing the audio to frequencies below 80 and above 90 hertz. They then increased the volume of the remaining signal.
Soren Madsen, head of Perseverance payload development at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said the recording was an example of how mission instruments can work in tandem to improve our understanding of the Red Planet.
As ingenuity moves away from perseverance and shooting, the height decreases, and as it returns, the height increases.
This is known as the Doppler Effect, and it provides an additional layer of confirmation of the helicopter’s flight path when it is out of visual range.
The video can be viewed here: https://twitter.com/NASAPersevere/status/1390685833007484928
© 2021 AFP