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Nasa recordings: Earthly noises on Mars sound so unusual

Nasa recordings: Earthly noises on Mars sound so unusual
Written by insideindyhomes

kmpkt Far far away

That’s how unusual earthly noises – and your own voice – sound on Mars

Illustration from Mars

The fourth planet in the solar system has long been the focus of NASA

Credit: Getty Images/Science Photo Library RF/SCIEPRO/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Compared to Earth, the Red Planet is not as comfortable. The atmosphere is thinner, the temperature lower. However, these factors do not only affect the climate: They also affect the sound, as Nasa recordings now show.

NOnly a few days after its landing in February 2021, the Mars rover “Perseverance” – equipped with lasers and microphones – sent the first sound recordings from our space neighbor. The world and research were amazed: suddenly you could not only see the red planet, but also hear it.

Hello Neighbor!

HANDOUT - April 6th, 2021, ---: This handout from the US space agency Nasa shows the US rover

Now, a little over a year later, scientists have managed to use the audio recordings to determine the speed of sound on Mars – as well as condense all the data collected into a five-hour Mars playlist. The latter shared Baptiste Chide, researcher in the US Los Alamos National Laboratoryat the 182nd session of the Acoustical Society of America (“Acoustic Society of America”) with.

For Chide and his colleagues, one thing is particularly impressive: how quiet it is on Mars. Because of the cool, thin atmosphere, noise on the Red Planet is around 20 decibels lower than on Earth. Of course the question arises:

What would earthly noises sound like on Mars?

In order to satisfy the curiosity of earthbound space explorers, the US space agency Nasa has published modifications of various sounds from everyday life on earth. The difference becomes clear in the above example: Both the birdsong and the street noise appear much duller in the Mars version than the earth recordings, as if both sounds were far away. The reason for this is the low speed of sound on the Red Planet: In the Jezero crater, sound expands by around 240 meters per second.

This emerges from an experiment by Chide and his team. The scientists told “Perseverance” to fire 30 laser shots at stones in the Jezero crater. The fact that the noises produced were “in the audible range” had to do with the carbon dioxide molecules in the atmosphere of Mars, Chide explained in a press release. After that, the researchers “just” had to divide the distance between the rover and the rock by the audio delay of the laser – and voilà! They had a speed of sound for Mars.

It’s so quiet on Mars that at one point we thought the mic was broken!

For comparison: On Earth, the speed of sound is generally estimated at 343 meters per second. However, this only applies under certain conditions. The speed of sound depends on the density, chemical composition and temperature of the medium through which the sound waves propagate, explains NASA.

There are huge temperature differences on Mars – and low air pressure

Mars Rover Perseverance

The Perseverance rover has been circling Mars since early 2021

Credit: Getty Images/Science Photo LibraryRF/MARK GARLICK/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

For example, there is a temperature difference of 40 Kelvin between the surface of the planet and two meters above it during the day. This results in a roughly ten percent deviation in the speed of sound at both altitudes. The strong temperature changes in winter also have an effect on the sound. They ensure a 20 percent variation in the speed of sound compared to summer.

In addition, the atmospheric pressure on Mars is only 0.6 percent of the mean air pressure on Earth. This influences the vibration of the carbon dioxide molecules in the atmosphere – and thus the speed of sound – in a special way: noises with a higher frequency propagate faster than lower frequencies. Normally, high and low tones move at the same speed.

The video above shows that these factors would also affect the sound quality of the human voice: the child’s voice sounds muffled, and the tempo seems a bit slower in some places.

If you want to know what your voice would sound like on Mars, you can make your own audio recording on the Nasa website. Otherwise you have to wait to be able to travel to our neighbor yourself – at least Elon Musk thinks the costs are affordable:

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