back to article Listen to The Sound of Perseverance: Not the death metal album, but NASA's Mars rover on the move

Ever wondered what it sounds like to drive on Mars? The answer involves clonks, squeaks, and a distressing amount of scratching. The latter, according to scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), is hopefully the result of something like electromagnetic interference from electronics within the Perseverance Rover …

  1. Gene Cash Silver badge
    Black Helicopters


    I wonder if we'll be able to hear the whirr of the helicopter when it flies...?

    Fingers and antennae crossed!

    1. don't you hate it when you lose your account

      Re: Helicopter?

      Whirlybirds on Mars.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nothing there...

    The poor thing sadly pottering around on it's own in a lonely barren wilderness of nothing is a bit depressing really.

    1. don't you hate it when you lose your account

      Re: Nothing there...

      Speak for yourself, totally wonderful from my side.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Nothing there...

        Well I do, obvs.

  3. Steve K Silver badge

    Obligatory XKCD (again)

    Obligatory XKCD

  4. jake Silver badge

    Sounds like ...

    ... a microphone that was inadvertently dropped picking up on harmonics through the chassis.

    I have an old RCA ribbon microphone in need of a rebuild that sounds similar (garage sale, $25, scored!) ...some frequencies are distorted, others come through just fine.

    It'd be nice to see synced video to connect the sounds to what is actually happening!

    1. Admiral Grace Hopper

      Re: Sounds like ...

      That's the best post-delivery enhancement request that I've heard in a long while.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Sounds like ...

        Seriously, I thought it was capable of it, or I'd have dropped a suggestion to Mars Lab years ago ... scads of cameras, a couple of microphones, and no way to easily sync the one to the other? What were they thinking?

        Come to think of it, are they not capable of video at all? That would make no sense ... Maybe after they fire up the chopper :-)

        1. Admiral Grace Hopper

          Re: Sounds like ...

          I too am surprised that the systems aren't sufficiently coordinated to allow for synched audio and video. I know that the survival of the microphone is an unexpected thing, but now that's it has happened it's unfortunate that they can't make the best possible use of the outcome.

          1. dboyes

            Re: Sounds like ...

            Probably bandwidth limited or power budget. Not like someone can just drop by and change the batteries or add a new transmitter..

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Sounds like ...

          Can't they just ask one of the Martians to hold up and snap the clapperboard?

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: Sounds like ...

      after listening to portions of both the raw and filtered, it seems to me that the 'scratches' were, in fact, the sounds of the powdered regolith-like material being pressed into the cracks of the wheels. Some kinds of powdery stuff will 'squeek' when you compress it. That's what it sounds like to me. And filtering it out loses that aspect of it, so the raw version is the better one.

      If you listen to it carefully with this in mind, it makes sense. The rover is going over rocks and powdery regolith-like material [as apparent from the photo anyway] and leaving some nice patterns in the dirt, showing how it's being pressed between the cracks of the wheels.

      I suppose without that sound-sync video it's only possible to guess. But it also helps to be a musician who does amateur recording and equalization and noise removal and things like that.

  5. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge


    Any annoying scratching noises at night could mean a rat has hitched a lift!

    1. Precordial thump

      Re: Scratching

      Whomp-rat, obvs.

    2. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Scratching

      It definitely sounds like a Barsoomian Gimlet bug looking for somewhere to lay its eggs, the larvae like to eat magnesium and other light metals.

      Synced sound and video would be amazing.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Scratching

        > Synced sound and video would be amazing.

        You mean like X-Factor?

  6. JDPower Bronze badge

    The Sound of Perseverance

    I preferred the Disturbed version.

  7. Phones Sheridan Bronze badge

    Sounds like the wheels need a squirt of WD40 to me.

    1. jake Silver badge


      Not in that dusty environment. They'd lock up in a matter of days.

  8. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

    The six wheels beneath Perseverance have been re-engineered

    Given the chances of getting stuck in very fine dust traps, it seems some kind of walking function would have been a useful add-on. Articulated control of each leg to give it some ambulatory abilities.

    Wouldn't have to walk very far, nor very fast. Just enough to shuffle back along its path to find solid(er) ground to roll across.

    Anyone know if that was considered?

  9. Roger Kynaston Silver badge

    speed of sound

    I read somewhere though i can't remember where now that sound travels slower in the thin CO2 atmosphere of Mars so presumably that would be more squeaky sounding on Earth.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: speed of sound

      sorta like what Helium does to your voice, or Argon gas for that matter.

      makes sense, yeah. Density of the sound medium altering the frequency (and other characteristics) of certain kinds of sounds.

  10. DarkwavePunk

    Sounds like...

    Reminds me of something Einstürzende Neubauten would have recorded in the 80s.

    Also jolly good stuff by the boffins. Not only have they zapped a rock with a laser, but worked out that it contains a lot of igneous rock. Whether as a single lump or part of a mix of sediment and volcanic granules is not yet known. Still Percy is already doing science which is bloody marvelous.

  11. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    Yeah, but... no, but...

    Sounds like a piece of drone music that a pretentious hipster would be bigging up over their soya latte.

  12. Sir Loin Of Beef

    The Sound of Perseverance!? I haven't listened to that albums in ages! I will have to give it a spin tonight!

    1. Andy Denton

      It's a belter. Probably my favourite Death album.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Not a Belter.

        Belters speak their own dialect of English.

        Judging by the noises, it sounds more like Pierin.

  13. Fr. Ted Crilly Bronze badge

    Martian Helicopter?


  14. Skiron


    All you are hearing here is the sound travelling through the structure - sound travels faster in material than an atmospheric medium, and doesn't pick up residue.

    If this was recorded from a remote source not attached to the rover, it would be pretty quiet.

    For an example, here is a cycling video I made in 2008 - the 'action cam' was mounted on my handlebars with a rubber protected clamp, and I kept a clean machine. Listen at the clangs and knocks that it picks up through the bike frame:

    Much the same is going on here at mars.

  15. Richard 84

    Metal tyres

    Doesn't sound bad for wheels/tyres made of aluminium

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