Hearing sounds that are out-of-this-world?
Perhaps a few times in a lifetime our ears enable us to have unique and unforgettable individual experiences. It may be hearing the cry of your first child as he or she enters the world, or being asked ‘will you marry me?’.
Thanks to today’s incredible developments in technology we can also now have unforgettable hearing experiences as a global society.
The first alien recording
If you’ve been following the adventures of Perseverance, the latest NASA rover to land on Mars, you may know that, as well as being equipped with state of the art cameras, an X-ray spectrometer, radar and weather station, Perseverance has two microphones. And just a day or so after touching down on Mars in February, one of them sent back to Earth the first audio recordings ever taken in an alien landscape. (Take a second to let that sink in…)
The high quality recordings include the sound of the Martian wind as it whistles across a landscape 34 million miles from Earth – a sound that’s enabling NASA scientists to determine wind speed, direction and atmospheric turbulence on the distant planet.
The microphone also sent back a recording of the rover’s laser blasting rocks as it searches for signs of life on Mars. Scientists are using these acoustic sounds to understand the physical properties of the rocks and soils on the planet.
The sound of science
It’s fairly mind-boggling to think that, due to the lower atmospheric pressure, and carbon dioxide-heavy atmosphere on Mars, if two people stood side by side on its surface they’d have difficulty hearing each other. The Perseverance microphones enable us to record sounds despite these alien challenges. It can also listen to other instruments, as well as when Perseverance is driving and drilling, enabling scientists to ‘health check’ the rover as it goes about its unique job. In fact, recordings from the second microphone of the rover’s first test drive highlighted an alarming high-pitched scratching noise which scientists are now trying to figure out.
At The Hearing Clinic we’re very excited at the new sounds and sights Perseverance is revealing. Next up is the launch of a helicopter, Ingenuity, from the belly of Perseverance, which is set to test autonomous powered flight in an atmosphere less than 1% as dense as that on Earth. Keep updated with the Mars 2020 mission.
How is your hearing? Please do get in touch to get your hearing assessed. Click on your preferred clinic below.