The U.S. space agency NASA has released the first sounds ever recorded on Mars — a light gust of wind on the planet's surface — along with panoramic views from its Perseverance Mars rover.
In a remote news briefing late Monday, NASA scientists released video taken by Perseverance as it descended to the surface of Mars last Thursday, deploying its red-and-white supersonic parachute by way of a rocket-powered hovercraft and lowering its wheels to the ground in a plume of dust and smoke.
The footage was captured by cameras mounted at different angles of the landing craft as it passed through the planet’s thin atmosphere to gently touch down inside a basin called the Jezero Crater.
Along with the video and still photos, NASA scientists also released the first ever audio recordings of wind from the surface. NASA scientist Dave Gruel noted the microphone picked up a gust of wind, along with a gentle “whir” sound from the rover itself. Gruel said their analysis indicated the sound came from a gust traveling about five meters per second.
The chief imaging scientist behind the project, Justin Maki, told reporters, "This is it. This is Mars. We're here in our place that we're going to be exploring over the next months and coming years.”
Perseverance reached Mars last week after a nearly seven-month journey covering 472 million kilometers.
Scientists hope to find biosignatures embedded in samples of ancient sediments that Perseverance is designed to extract from Martian rock for future analysis back on Earth — the first such specimens ever collected from another planet.