Just Listen To NASA’s Perseverance Rover Slamming Over Rocks On Mars

NASA’s Perseverance Rover has microphones, so now we can hear what Mars’ surface is like. (Images: NASA/JPL)

NASA’s Perseverance Rover has recorded itself as it off-roads on another planet – and it’s epic!

Intergalactic off-roading can now be listened to thanks to the Perseverance Rover’s microphones. Not only have we heard the amazing, and somewhat unnerving sounds of Mars’ winds – we get to hear off-roading. Perseverance recorded itself as it bounded over sharp rocks and shuffled through sand on the red planet.

For those of you who don’t know, NASA’s Perseverance Rover, created by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), is a 6×6 semi-autonomous, planet-exploring, electric off-road vehicle. It has advanced cameras, probing arms and it carries a small helicopter that will (hopefully) launch in April. Yep, it’s a jacked up, giant off-road RC car. That’s putting it in its simplest terms.

The rover is 10 feet long, nine-feet wide and seven-feet tall. It weighs 2,260-lbs dry, but that weight will change as it deploys the helicopter drone “Ingenuity,” and when it collects planetary samples to examine. These rock cores and other samples will remain in the rover. In the future, another Mars mission could potentially pick up the samples and bring them to Earth for detailed analysis. Yes indeed – it has a cargo bay.

NASAs Perseverance rover is a 6×6 bro

All six wheels are made of aluminum and they are 20.7-inches in diameter. Each wheel has a 48 spline tread, which is made to claw over rocks. Top speed, on a flat surface is 152 meters per hour. Considering how far it is from Earth, and the fact that there is no AAA to help you if you bust a wheel, it makes sense. Another reason to take is slow is to keep the energy burn to a minimum.

Perseverance is designed to withstand a tilt of 45-degrees in any direction without tipping over. In the name of caution, the rover drivers avoid terrains that would cause a tilt of more than 30-degrees.

According to the JPL,

“The Perseverance rover has six wheels, each with its own individual motor. The two front and two rear wheels also have individual steering motors. This steering capability allows the vehicle to turn in place, a full 360 degrees. The four-wheel steering also allows the rover to swerve and curve, making arcing turns.”

NASA/JPL

The suspension system has three main components:

  • Differential: Connects to the left and right rockers and to the rover body by a pivot in the center of the rover’s top deck.
  • Rocker: One each on the left and right side of the rover. Connects the front wheel to the differential and the bogie in the rear.
  • Bogie: Connects the middle and rear wheels to the rocker.

Just listen to it!

Engineers have equipped Perseverance with microphones. It has Entry Descent and Landing (EDL) microphones that will record the sounds of landing. SuperCam identifies minerals and rock compositions. It was built to seek organic compounds. SuperCam’s toolkit also consists of a microphone that will help study Mars rocks and soil.

Other Mars rovers were equipped with microphones, but they failed for one reason or another.

Most importantly for off-roading fans, we are now able to hear what it sounds like to off-road on Mars. This video is great because it explains what’s going on. On top of that, there are clips that go along with the recording. On top of that, you will see the tray deployed that shielded the helicopter that is mounted on the rover’s belly.

Check it out and imagine overlanding on the red planet!

Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism - Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum. Brought up in the California car culture and educated in theater, childhood education, film, journalism and history, Nathan now lives with his family in Denver, CO. His words, good humor and video are enjoyed worldwide.