When the Mars Perseverance rover lands on the Red Planet on Feb. 18, 2021, it will not only collect stunning images and rock samples; the data it returns may also include some recorded sounds from Mars.
The rover carries a pair of microphones, which – if all goes as planned – will provide interesting and historic audio of the arrival and landing at Mars, along with sounds of the rover at work and of wind and other ambient noise.
The way many things sound on Earth would be slightly different on the Red Planet. That’s because the Martian atmosphere is only 1% as dense as Earth’s atmosphere at the surface and has a different makeup than ours, which affects sound emission and propagation. But the discrepancy between sounds on Earth and Mars would be much less dramatic than, for example, someone’s voice before and after inhaling helium from a balloon.
NASA explains that audio gathered by the mission may not sound quite the same on Mars as it would to our ears on Earth. A new interactive online experience lets you sample the difference. Check it here.