What It Sounds Like Inside A Martian Dust Devil

Martian Dust Devil

If you spent your life wondering what it might sound like in a different world – or in this case, on a distant planet – you have to agree that it would be cool to know, right?

Well, Perseverance has recorded the inside of a dust devil, and don’t worry – even if all you hear is wind, scientists are here to tell us what else is going on in there.

The rover’s microphones heard the dust devil start-up on September 27th, 2021, and what it sent was incredibly clear, according to Naomi Murdoch, a planetary scientist.

“As the dust devil passed over Perseverance we could actually hear individual impacts of grains on the rover. We could actually count them.”

This information could play an important role when it comes to future Mars missions since dust is a significant factor in the planning. It could erode a ship’s heat shield, damage scientific instruments, incapacitate parachutes, and smother solar panels, among countless other potential issues.

NASA scientists believe the whirlwind that was recorded was around 82 feet wide and 287 feet high, which counts as relatively minor and did not even cause damage to the rover.

It captured images as well, which took some preparation and a lot of luck to accomplish, says planetary scientist John Edward Moores.

“I can’t think of a previous case where so much data from so many instruments contributed to characterizing a single dust devil. Had the camera been pointing in a different direction or the microphone observation been scheduled just a few seconds later, key pieces of the story would be missing. Sometimes it helps to be lucky in science!”

Scientists hope that the rover will resume collecting data that will help in the planning of future missions, and in helping us better understand the planet in the meantime.

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