Following Perseverance’s touchdown on Mars last week, Nasa has released the first sounds from the red planet – captured by DPA’s 4006 Omnidirectional Microphone, MMA-A Digital Audio Interface and MMP-G Modular Active Cable.
During its journey, the DPA equipment faced pressure changes while leaving Earth’s atmosphere and again when entering the Martian surface, and extreme temperatures — as low as -100 Celsius — on Mars.
“It is an honour to have been chosen for this space mission, and we are so pleased by the results,” said DPA product manager René Mørch. “Everything about the mission — from the launch to the landing — is hostile insofar as a microphone is generally concerned. It’s very exciting to know that DPA was able to record something from so many millions of miles away, and have the sound travel back to us so quickly. To have been able to deliver audio from the surface of Mars is truly a crowning achievement.”
DPA has also been involved in processing the audio files before they were sent to Nasa to be analysed and published.
The layout of the microphone amplifier and chassis of the MMA-A each required modifications in order to be affixed to the rover, although the mechanics of the devices are exactly the same as those found in every DPA solution with some of the gear used featuring off-the-shelf components.
“The entire construction of the equipment was tested rigorously during the rover assembly process,” added Mørch. “It was during this process that the DPA solution proved its effectiveness to the mission, earning it a coveted spot on the historic rover. To me, the fact that these are factory standard components is a clear testament to the quality and durability of the equipment we manufacture.”
The pictures from Mars have completed their 213 kilometre journey back to Earth with the help of 23 cameras.
According to Dave Gruel, Perseverance’s camera lead, more than 23,000 images, amounting to 30 gigabytes of data, were gathered during the final minutes of Perseverance’s journey to Jezero Crater on Mars.
Those images are being processed by the team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (NASA JPL) who are using AWS. “By using AWS, NASA JPL is able to process data from Mars, on Earth, faster than ever before,” wrote the company in a blog post. “The increased processing speed will help NASA JPL make faster decisions on the health and safety of the rover. This information is critical for scientists and engineers to plan the rover’s next day activities.”