Earlier this month, NASA’s Perseverance rover sent over the first audio recordings of the Martian surface, revealing the ghostly sound of Martian wind. Now, NASA has published a recording of the rover’s drive through Mars’ Jezero Crater, giving us an idea of the racket Martians would hear if they came across the Perseverance rover during its journey.
In the recording, you can clearly hear the Mars rover’s metal wheels banging across rocks and gravel, plus the creaks and squeaks of its mobility system. There’s also a nasty, high-pitched humming sound, though the Perseverance team isn’t sure where that noise is coming from. NASA says that the EDL (entry, descent, and landing) microphone was a last-minute addition to the rover and underwent minimal testing, so it’s possible that the mic is just picking up electromagnetic interference from the Rover due to improper shielding.
If you listen closely to the recording, you can hear Martians mumbling “♎︎♏︎⬧︎⧫︎❒︎□︎⍓︎ ♋︎●︎●︎ ♒︎◆︎❍︎♋︎■︎⬧︎” … that’s a joke, though I dare anyone to listen through the uncut 16-minute recording provided by NASA. If you didn’t know it was from Mars, you could swear that someone left their phone recording while rubbing a fork against a chalkboard.
While it certainly doesn’t sound like music, the Perseverance rover’s recordings make its mission feel more personal and raise questions about the future of space travel. Mars is a real place, covered in dust, rocks, and craters that no human has ever seen in person. Yet we have recordings from the planet’s surface, and our library of recordings will continue to grow as the Mars rover wanders around the lonely little planet.