Nasa releases Mars audio of mysterious ‘high-pitched scratching noise’ recorded by Perseverance

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Nasa has released a 16-minute audio recording of a mysterious “high-pitched scratching noise” captured by its Perseverance rover on Mars.

The rover’s entry, descent and landing (EDL) microphone also captured “bangs, pings and rattles” made by Perseverance’s six metal wheels and suspension on its first test drive two weeks ago, though Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory only published them on Wednesday.

“If I heard these sounds driving my car, I’d pull over and call for a tow,” said Dave Gruel, a senior Nasa engineer on the rover team “But if you take a minute to consider what you’re hearing and where it was recorded, it makes perfect sense.”

Perseverance – the biggest, most advanced rover ever sent to Mars – landed near an ancient river delta on 18 February to search for signs of past life. Samples will be taken from the most promising rocks for eventual return to Earth.

The rover carries two microphones. One already has captured the sounds of wind and rock-zapping lasers, the other was meant to record the descent and landing. This second microphone didn’t pick up any sounds of the rover’s arrival at Mars, but managed to record the first test drive on 4 March.

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