The NASA Perseverance rover was “attacked” by a Martian dust devil. The rover managed to be in the very epicenter of the vortex, the size of a large apartment building. During this event, Perseverance managed to record for the first time in history how it actually sounded.
It turned out that the dust devil sounds almost exactly the same as wind gusts on Earth. The conclusions were published in the journal Nature Communications by a team led by Naomi Murdoch, a planetary scientist at the University of Toulouse in France.
Data from the rover’s full set of sensors, including its navigation camera, combined with computer simulations, lead researchers to believe that the dust devil stretched 25 m wide and 118 m high — it’s almost a 30-storey building.
Not the first and not the last meeting of Perseverance
Perseverance has previously been attacked by dust vortices. For the first time it happened in the Jezero crater on September 27, 2021. It turns out that the region where the rover is located is a place where dust devils appear very often. For example, the Insight lander in another part of the planet has not observed a single vortex at all during its 4 years of active work on the surface of Mars. Shame – perhaps the wind could have knocked some dust off the clogged solar panels, which makes the lander now living out its last days.
In addition, recording the sound of the vortex will help scientists better understand wind and weather conditions on the Red Planet, which is known for massive, sometimes global dust storms. The researchers were even able to identify individual particles of dust or sand in the vortex that hit the microphone.
Next, the scientists hope that Perseverance will be able to meet another dust devil in another place to compare how different geography affects the structure of vortices.
Earlier we reported on how Perseverance bit off a piece of Mars with a new device.
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