Researchers Release First-Ever Audio Of Martian Dust Devil | Eastern North Carolina Now

    Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of the The Daily Wire. The author of this post is Charlotte Pence Bond.

    Scientists were able to hear an exciting sound from another planet and release the audio for the public to experience on Tuesday.

    It is the first time earthlings have heard the swirling columns of wind and dust known as Martian dust devils, which coincidentally traveled directly above the NASA Perseverance rover and sprayed the device with dust. The rover happened to have its microphone turned on when the dust phenomenon passed above it.

    The noise sounds like wind hitting the microphone, and pieces of dust can also be heard striking the device. The audio is not particularly loud because of the thin atmosphere on Mars, although it sounds similar to dust devils that appear on planet Earth.

    The recording took place last year, according to Naomi Murdoch of the University of Toulouse, the lead author of the study in Nature Communications.

    "As the dust devil passed over Perseverance we could actually hear individual impacts of grains on the rover," Murdoch said. "We could actually count them."

    The recordings are captured just eight times each month, and the microphone on the rover records for less than three minutes. However, the scientists try to plan the video and audio recordings to coincide with times the dust devils are likely to happen.

    Murdoch said it was "definitely luck" that the dust devil appeared at the same time the microphones were live on September 27, 2021.

    "It was fully caught red-handed by Persy," co-author German Martinez of the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston said.

    The rover collected data on the dust devil in multiple ways.

    In the Nature publication, researchers describe the dust devils as "convective vortices loaded with dust" and are "common at the surface of Mars, particularly at Jezero crater, the landing site of the Perseverance rover."

    The scientists noted that increasing the knowledge about "dust lifting and atmospheric transport" is vital to simulate the dust pattern correctly and to be able to predict dust storms. It is also important "for future space exploration as grain impacts are implicated in the degradation of hardware on the surface of Mars."

    Images of Martian dust devils have been captured for many years, but the sounds they make had never been heard before this recording. The dust devil captured was almost 400 feet tall, around 80 feet wide, and moving at 16 feet per second, which is typical.



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