Ingenuity sur le sol de Mars. Image acquise le 28 avril par une des caméras Mastcam de Perseverance. © Nasa, JPL-Caltech, ASU

Hear the strange sound of a helicopter flying in the Martian sky

Although this was unimaginable, the ISAE-Supaero microphone installed in the SuperCam recorded the sounds of an Ingenuity helicopter flying over the Martian sky. Explanations by Naomi Murdoch, ISAE-Supaéro Researcher and David Memon, Scientific Director of the Microphone.

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The ISAE-Supaéro microphone, Integrated into French Supercam instrument, recorded 4 sounde Flight fromcleverness ! Outstanding performance never gets achieved. Actually, likehelicopter It’s a safe distance of tens of meters of persistence, and it wasn’t certain that the microphone could hear anything.

The microphone built into the French Supercam instrument recorded the sound of Ingenuity’s journey on its fourth flight. Then, the Martian helicopter was 80 meters from the rover (I prefer listening with a high-quality headphone because Mars does not transmit high-pitched sounds well). © NASA / JPL / LANL / CNES / CNRS / ISAE-SUPAERO

Sounds of the fourth helicopter flight were captured

During this fourth voyage, the ingenuity of the The mission is extended for 30 days, 80 meters from Rover. The small helicopter rose five meters above the ground before covering 133 meters and then returning to the ground where it took off. During this trip, the scientific SuperCam microphone, developed by ISAE-Supaéro, recorded the sound emanating from the rotation of the Ingenuity blades. As the microphone team determines, that sound. “ It has a characteristic frequency of 84 Hz ; It equates to the low “E” for piano or the bass of a human ».

« It’s a big surprise for the entire science team! », Says Naomi Murdoch, the researcher at ISAE-Supaéro responsible for the accurate data. the exams “ They were conducted in the Martian Chamber to design this instrument, and along with our theories of sound propagation, it indicated that the microphone would hardly pick up helicopter sounds. ».

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This recording proves that it is a goldmine for our understanding of the Martian atmosphere.

In fact, theAmbiance From Mars, it is very sparseAnd the « It greatly dampens sound transmission, so we needed some luck to record the helicopter at this distance. So we’re very happy that we managed to get this recording which turned out to be a goldmine for our understanding of the Martian atmosphere. ».

Graphic interpretation of the audio recording during Ingenuity’s fourth voyage (April 30, 2021). © Cnes, ISAE-Supaéro

Speech to David Memon, Scientific Director of the SuperCam Microphone and also Professor at ISAE-Supaéro:

Futura: Technically, is Flying Ingenuity’s vocal recording performance amazing?

David Memon: Yes, it is an amazing performance. We thought we were at the sensitivity limits, with great attenuation due to the atmosphere, but we were lucky, or our models were pessimistic … It must be said that the models of acoustic propagation on Mars are preliminary.

Futura: Was removing extraneous noise complicated?

David Memon: We’ve amplified the creativity frequency range slightly (bass boost), especially to distinguish it from gusts of wind. However, there is no complicated signal processing.

Futura: For example, it is specifically planned to listen to robotic arm and mast operations, walk on normal or uneven ground, or even monitor the operation of Moxie’s pumps. However, are there other attempts to record unplanned votes under consideration?

David Memon: We have worked hard to convince our colleagues Jet Propulsion Laboratory Attempt to check-in for an Ingenuity flight. I think we will be able to use the microphone more often after we’ve demonstrated its capabilities. Operations are already planned with Moxie, but this will increase colleagues’ interest in the microphone. But, at ISAE-Supaéro, we focus primarily on the science of the Martian atmosphere, which we have had strong experience with since Insight.

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