NASA rover records the sound of a dust storm on Mars

NASA’s Perseverance rover has recorded the sound of ‘dust devils’ on Mars for the first time (watch the video at the bottom of the article): he did it thanks to his microphone, turned on just as the Jezero crater was swept by a vortex of dust and sand that is estimated to be 118 meters high and 25 meters wide. The data collected, published in Nature Communications, will help to better understand the dynamics of the Martian atmosphere and how dust storms change the planet’s surface. All valuable information in view of future exploratory missions.

The rover’s microphone records three minutes every 48 hours

“We can learn more through sounds than with other instruments,” says Roger Wiens of Purdue University. “The microphone allows us to sample about 100,000 times per second, helping us get a better general idea of ​​what Mars is like.” The microphone, which is part of the SuperCam suite of tools, isn’t always active: It records for about three minutes every two days. It took some luck to get the ‘dust devil’ registered, but it wasn’t entirely unexpected. Nearly one hundred of these small tornadoes have been documented so far in the Jezero crater where Perseverance made landfall.