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Sound on Mars travels at two different speeds, NASA reveal

Listen to the noises captured by NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover 

  • Words: Becky Buckle | Images: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  • 12 April 2022
Sound on Mars travels at two different speeds, NASA reveal

A study by NASA has revealed that Mars has two speeds of sound.

Audio was analysed by scientists after noises were recorded via the microphone of the Mars Perseverance rover which was launched in 2020.

Published by the Nature journal on April 1, the first five hours of noises collected by the rover were presented, demonstrating that sound travels more slowly, and a shorter distance, on Mars than it does on Earth due to "the thin, cold, carbon dioxide atmosphere”.

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Other sounds included "the crackling strike of a rock-zapping laser" and the "the whir of rotors" from the Mars helicopter, Ingenuity.

Recordings from Mars also demonstrated a delay effect, as scientists explained that the sounds travel at two different speeds, one for high-pitched and one for lower frequencies.

"On Earth, sounds typically travel at 767 mph (343 meters per second). But on Mars, low-pitched sounds travel at about 537 mph (240 meters per second), while higher-pitched sounds move at 559 mph (250 meters per second)", NASA explain.

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Listen to the noises captured by NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover below.

Becky Buckle is Mixmag's Digital Intern, follow her on Twitter

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