Already slowing down? Perseverance rover records strange 'scratching' noises on Mars, puzzling experts

Written on 03/19/2021
SCIENCE


By Ciarán Mather

Workers at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) have expressed concerns over sounds being made by its Mars rover, Perseverance.

Recently released audio from the vehicle's first test drive two weeks ago showed that the rover picked up various clanking and jittery sounds as it traversed its way along the Martian surface (In addition, a condensed version of the feed can be listened to here). 

Most notably, engineers are trying to figure out the case of an unexpectedly high-pitched scratching noise that was heard in the audio feed.

Dave Gruel, an engineer at NASA, said in a statement: 'If I heard these sounds driving my car, I’d pull over and call for a tow.' 

Perseverance was one of three separate space probes controlled by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the USA and China, with the NASA's rover being the last one to reach it.

It is currently collecting rocks for analysis back on Earth, as well as looking for any potential signs of habitable conditions and micro-organisms.

The rover is equivalent in size to a small car and is estimated to have cost around $2.7 billion to build.

For further information about what makes the Perseverance rover so fascinating, check out Newsday.ie's round-up article here.

In related Mars news, scientists who recently ran a computer simulation of Mars now think that most of the Red Planet's water never technically left.