Their findings Posted today In the leading scientific journal Nature.
Scientists used the microphones in the Mars explorer Perseverance to listen to the sounds. They heard the intelligence of the robotic helicopter flying in front of it. Knowing exactly where the searchlight was, where and when the helicopter flew, they were able to calculate how long it took for the sound to reach the microphone.
Sound travels at 240 meters per second, while on Earth it travels at 340 meters per second. This was to be expected: the atmosphere on Mars is much thinner, which means that sound waves travel more slowly.
But another measurement was unexpected. The microphones also recorded how a searchlight shot a laser beam at a rock to measure its composition. The sound of the laser moves at a speed of 250 meters per second, which is a different speed from the sound of a helicopter.
Every sound is different
While Earth has one speed of sound, it turns out that Mars has two speeds of sound: high pitches are faster than low pitches, so each sound will sound very different.
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