DPA mics up Mars – 2020 Rover to capture red planet’s sound
Posted on: Thursday 10th of January 2019
In February 2021, NASA’s Mars 2020 Rover is scheduled to touch down on the Red Planet. The spacecraft will have the capability to capture imagery and sound as the Mars 2020 vehicle descends through the Martian atmosphere and lands on the surface of Mars. To capture sounds from the Red Planet for the first time ever, the Mars 2020 Rover will be outfitted with a selection of equipment from DPA Microphones.
Until recently, no one had ever heard anything from within the Martian atmosphere. In fact, the first sounds were only heard on December 1, 2018. A highly-sensitive seismometer on board NASA’s InSight Mars Lander recorded vibrations caused by Martian wind. In addition, the vehicle’s air pressure sensor also recorded the sound of wind. The sounds were picked up by instruments made for other purposes than sound thus the recordings are analogies to what you could expect to hear.
For this partnership, NASA has strenuously tested a variety of mics and chosen a selection of equipment from DPA. d:dicate 4006 Omnidirectional Microphones will be the Rover’s “ears”; attached to the vehicle and paired with MMP-G Modular Active Cables, which will act as ultra-transparent preamplifiers. Inside the body of the vehicle, acting as the auditory part of the ‘brain’, will be a MMA-A Digital Audio Interface.
The trip to Mars is not a simple walk in the park. It will subject the Rover to extreme temperatures (as low as -100°C/ -148°F), wildly varying travel pressure and intense vibrations. To ensure that the equipment lands on Mars in good working order, the spacecraft design team has created a specialized enclosure to mount the MMA-A interface inside the rover chassis. In addition, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and the DPA R&D team worked together to create a custom MMP-G amplifier housing to bolt onto the exterior of the Rover.