Spacecraft on another planet records the sound of a separate spacecraft!

NASA

Another new dimension to the historic project the sounds of the Mars Helicopter’s whirring rotors add. For the 1st time, spacecraft on another planet have recorded the sounds of a separate spacecraft. NASA’s Perseverance Mars used one’s two microphones to listen to as the Ingenuity helicopter flew for the 4th time on 30 April 2021. A new video combines Perseverance’s Mastcam-Z imager footage of the solar-powered helicopter with audio from a microphone belonging to the rover’s SuperCam laser instrument.

The rocks are zapped from a distance by the laser to reveal their chemical composition studying their vapor with a spectrometer. The sound of those laser strikes is recorded by the instrument’s microphone, which provides information on the physical properties of the targets. The microphone can record ambient noise like the Martian wind.

From the helicopter’s takeoff and landing, spot Perseverance is parked 262 feet; the rover mission wasn’t sure if the microphone would pick up any sound of the flight. Even during the flight, the sound is significantly muffled by the thin Martian atmosphere when the helicopter’s blades spin at 2,537 pm. During the initial moments of the flight, it is further obscured by Martian wind gusts.

Scientists made the audio recorded in mono. By isolating the 84-hertz helicopter blade sound, it is easier to hear, reducing the frequencies above 90 hertz and below 80 hertz and increasing the volume of the remaining signal. To bring out the helicopter’s hum, some frequencies were clipped when the helicopter passes through the field of view of the camera, which is loudest.

Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico led the SuperCam, where the instrument’s body unit was developed. That part of the instrument includes software, control electronics, several spectrometers. The mast unit, including the microphone, was developed and built by several laboratories of French universities, the CNRS, ISAE-Supaéro. The Spain’s University of Valladolid provided calibration targets on the rover deck.

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