Perseverance is set for take-off tomorrow, with experts predicting clear weather for the impending launch. The new rover will have a plethora of equipment attached to it, but one breakthrough instrument could revolutionise NASA‘s understanding of the Red Planet.
Perseverance will have a microphone attached to it, allowing space experts to listen to the sound of the Red Planet for the first time.
The microphones attached to the rover will also help NASA ensure the machine remains in tip-top condition.
While the machine is landing, NASA will be able to listen to the descent to ensure everything is going smoothly and will use similar features to hear the swivels and turns as Perseverance makes its way across the rocky terrain.
Greg Delory, the CEO and co-founder of space hardware company Heliospace and an advisor to the SuperCam, an instrument which will help NASA ‘hear’ Mars, team, said: “Hearing how the mast swivels, the wheels turn, or hearing how other instruments sound can also be an important engineering diagnostic tool.”
SuperCam will also “identify the chemical composition of rocks and soils, including their atomic and molecular makeup”, according to NASA.
However, with Mars being made of a similar composition to Earth in terms of being a rocky planet, scientists are not expecting anything too out of the ordinary.
Bruce Betts, a planetary scientist at The Planetary Society, told Mashable: “We think we’ll hear Earth-like sounds on a planet that’s tens of millions of miles away.”
Perhaps the most exciting instrument Perseverance has is SHERLOC.
NASA said: “The main instrument, the Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics & Chemicals (SHERLOC), will be mounted on the end of one of the Mars rover’s robotic arms.
SHERLOC will emit a quarter-sized ultraviolet laser at the ground. Space scientists will then measure the way the light scatters when it hits the ground to work out what kind of minerals and chemical compounds it is made from.
The technique will also identify the unique spectral “fingerprint” certain alien organic material might give off.
Extraterrestrial life experts hope this can track down potential signs of past alien life.
NASA’s Luther Beegle told the JPL news blog: “Life is clumpy. If we see organics clumping together on one part of a rock, it might be a sign that microbes thrived there in the past.”