Apparently, the Perseverance rover makes quite a racket while driving on Martian terrain. NASA has released an audio recording of the rover’s 90-foot drive in Jezero Crater on March 7th, which was captured by its entry, descent and landing (EDL) microphone. You’ll hear the rover’s wheels crunching over the surface of the red planet as it moves, along with the bangs and creaks made by its mobility system. As Vandi Verma, a senior engineer and rover driver at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said: “A lot of people, when they see the images, don’t appreciate that the wheels are metal. When you’re driving with these wheels on rocks, it’s actually very noisy.”
It’s so noisy that Dave Gruel, the lead engineer for the EDL system, said he’d pull over and call for a tow if he heard these sounds while driving his car. The original and unfiltered 16-minute recording contains a high-pitched scratching noise along with the sounds of the rover’s driving. While Perseverance’s engineering team is still figuring out where the high-pitched scratching came from, they’re already looking at a couple of possibilities. The sounds could’ve been made by the mobility system or it could’ve come from electromagnetic interference from one of the rover’s electronics boxes.
That said, NASA has also released a 90-second version of the audio that filters out some of the noise:
The Perseverance rover has been giving us the first ever sounds recorded on Mars. Aside from this driving audio, another microphone that’s part of its SuperCam instrument also recorded Martian winds and the sound of the instrument’s laser zapping rock. “The variations between Earth and Mars — we have a feeling for that visually,” Verma said. “But sound is a whole different dimension: to see the differences between Earth and Mars, and experience that environment more closely.”