If humans could ever walk around the surface of Mars, they would have to get used to the sound. This turned out to be very different from what it is on Earth. An international group of scientists discovered this thanks to the two microphones of the Mars explorer Perseverance. The results were published today in the important scientific journal Nature.
Using microphones, scientists listened to sounds on the Red Planet. They heard the tact helicopter fly. Knowing exactly where the searchlight was, where and when the helicopter flew, they were able to calculate how long it took for the sound to reach the microphone.
Sound travels at 240 meters per second, while on Earth it travels at 340 meters per second. This was to be expected: the atmosphere on Mars is much thinner.
Another measurement yielded an unexpected result. Microphones recorded how a searchlight fired a laser beam at a rock to measure its composition. The sound from the laser moved at 250 meters per second, faster than he had expected.
While Earth has the speed of one sound, Mars appears to have two speeds of sound: high-pitched sounds like lasers travel faster than the low-pitched sounds of a helicopter rotor. Then people hear high tones instead of low sounds.
Moreover, Mars is very calm, according to the researchers. All they heard was the wind and scout reels bouncing off the rocks.
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