What Does Mars Sound Like? Thanks to the Perseverance Rover, Now We Know

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 (AI-generated artwork created with Midjourney/Logotype created by Bryan Bindloss)

Mars has been the subject of human curiosity for thousands of years. Observations of the red planet appear in ancient texts from Egypt, China, Greece, India and Babylonia. So it's no wonder humans have sent 50 missions to the planet so far, with half of them successful. That includes landing six rovers on the planet, five of which were sent by NASA.

The rovers carry all kinds of specialized tools to analyze the Martian landscape, but it wasn't until the Perseverance rover landed in 2021 that people successfully put microphones on Mars. That's not for lack of trying — it took four missions to make this happen, the first one back in the '90s at the urging of Carl Sagan.

Now, Perseverance's SuperCam instrument is sending back recordings from the planet's surface. In this episode of Audible Cosmos, we explore what the audio reveals, including an unexpected discovery about the speed of sound on Mars — or, rather, speeds. 

Audible Cosmos is produced and reported by Amanda Font and Lowell Robinson; Robinson also provided original scoring for this episode.