Sounds of ‘dust devils’ first recorded on Mars as scientists say they’ve ‘hit the jackpot’

Sounds from a dust devil from Mars were first recorded as it wheeled over a NASA rover.

The rover, called Perseverance, picked up the audio and helped the scientists involved in the study “hit the jackpot.”

Sounds from dust devils of Mars have been recorded for the first time


Sounds from dust devils of Mars have been recorded for the first time

On Tuesday, a new study announced the sounds of the Martian dust devil picked up by Perseverance. The Deccan Herald said.

Naomi Murdoch, a lead author of the study, said of the noise recorded during the study, “We hit the jackpot.”

Murdoch’s team hopes these sounds will help researchers understand Martian weather and climate, in addition to any life the planet may have supported in the past, the outlet said.

Dust devils are widespread on Mars, and they come from vortices that are filled with dust due to different ground and air temperatures.

Stunning image of Mars peeking out from behind the moon, taken from the US back garden
The stunning image shows Mars reaching its closest point to Earth

Rover Perseverance has been chilling in Jezero Crater since early 2021, and this is an area where dust devils are particularly common, although they have not been recorded before.

It was September 27, 2021, when a 130-meter-high dust devil flew directly over the rover’s microphone.

The rover’s SuperCam microphone, responsible for the first-ever sound recording from Mars, captured the dust devil’s sound, however muffled.

Murdoch said, “We hear the wind associated with the dust devil once it arrives, then nothing because we are in the eye of the vortex.”

Noises from the dust devil kicked up again when “the microphone goes through the second wall”.

By studying the sound of the impact, the researchers can count the particles and see the pattern of movement and structure of the wind, the Deccan Herald said.

Sometimes these dust devils suck up dust, and sometimes “they just move air,” Murdoch said — the inconsistency remains a mystery to scientists.

This means some of the solar panels placed by Nasa are covered in dust, while others are being cleaned by Martian weather activity.

With a deeper understanding, scientists can make predictions about where this specific weather pattern is most likely to occur next.

Although huge dust storms have been featured in films like 2015’s The Martian, Murdoch said the crazy nature of those portrayed on screen was “unrealistic”.

Murdoch’s co-author and planetary scientist Sylvestre Maurice said: “One might think that studying Martian climate today has nothing to do with looking for traces of life billions of years ago.

“But it’s all part of a whole, because the story of Mars is a story of extreme climate change from a wet, hot planet to a completely dry and cold planet.” Sounds of ‘dust devils’ first recorded on Mars as scientists say they’ve ‘hit the jackpot’

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