NASA Perseverance rover has captured the Audio and Video of Ingenuity Helicopter Flight for the first time.
A spacecraft on another planet has recorded the sounds of a separate spacecraft. The low-pitched sound was recorded during the Ingenuity helicopter’s fourth flight on April 30,2021.
NASA explained that the sound was recorded by a microphone on SuperCam which is a laser instrument on Perseverance.
NASA confirmed the flight’s success on Twitter, posting a new picture of the chopper taken from Perseverance.
The nearly three-minute-long video begins with the low rumble of wind blowing across the Jezero Crater, where Perseverance landed in February on a mission to search for signs of ancient microbes.
🔊🔴 New sounds from Mars: Our @NASAPersevere rover caught the beats coming from our Ingenuity #MarsHelicopter! This marks the first time a spacecraft on another planet has recorded the sounds of a separate spacecraft.
— NASA (@NASA) May 7, 2021
With Perseverance parked 262 feet (80 meters) from the helicopter’s takeoff and landing spot, the rover mission wasn’t sure if the microphone would pick up any sound of the flight.
Even during flight, when the helicopter’s blades spin at 2,537 rpm, the sound is greatly muffled by the thin Martian atmosphere.
The speed of sound on the planet is therefore around 540 mph (roughly 240 meters per second), compared to about 760 mph (roughly 340 meters per second) here.
Scientists made the audio, which is recorded in mono, easier to hear by isolating the 84 hertz helicopter blade sound, reducing the frequencies below 80 hertz and above 90 hertz, and increasing the volume of the remaining signal.
The Martian atmosphere is about one percent the density of our planet’s, making everything much quieter than on Earth.
“This recording will be a gold mine for our understanding of the Martian atmosphere,” SuperCam microphone science lead David Mimoun.
Perseverance has captured video of all of Ingenuity’s flights to date, from an observation point 262 feet (80 meters) from the chopper’s takeoff and landing site.
Perseverance’s science team also decided they wanted to stay in the immediate surroundings longer than they first thought, making it possible for the two robots to work together.