First came the amazing pictures, then the video – and now Nasa is sharing sounds of its little helicopter humming through the thin Martian air.
Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California released this first-ever audio on Friday, just before Ingenuity was set to soar on its fifth test flight.
The low hum from the helicopter blades spinning at more than 2,500 revolutions per minute is barely audible. It almost sounds like a low-pitched, far-away mosquito or other flying insect.
That is because the 1.8-kilogram helicopter was more than 260 feet from the microphone on the Perseverance rover.
The rumbling wind gusts also obscured the chopper’s sound.
Scientists isolated the sound of the whirring blades and magnified it, making it easier to hear.
The sound was recorded during the helicopter’s fourth test flight on April 30.
Ingenuity — the first powered aircraft to fly on another planet — arrived on Mars on February 18, clinging to Perseverance’s belly.
Its first flight was April 19; Nasa named the take-off and landing area Wright Brothers Field in honour of Wilbur and Orrville, who made the world’s first plane flights in 1903.
A stamp-size piece of wing fabric from the original Wright Flyer is aboard Ingenuity.
The 85 million dollars tech demo was supposed to end a few days ago, but Nasa extended the mission by at least a month to get more flying time.
Friday afternoon’s test flight was aiming for twice the altitude — as high as 33 feet. The helicopter was also headed to a new touchdown spot.
With the helicopter’s first phase complete, the rover can now start hunting for rocks that might contain signs of past microscopic life.
Core samples will be collected for eventual return to Earth.