It is the martian breeze heard around the world!
“That little puff of wind is what saved the day, because that’s the actual sound of the planet,” explained Jason Achilles Mezilis, an L.A.-based musician and NASA consultant.
For the first time, a Mars rover captured audio from the red planet “and it worked, which is amazing,” added Mezilis.
Mezilis is part of the team that made the recording possible. I spoke with him at his home in Los Angeles, where he explained how his own perseverance landed him a spot on the rover’s audio team.
The LA-based musician figured his studio smarts could help the folks at JPL put the right mic on perseverance. So he wrote a proposal to NASA and they accepted. The testing began.
“There’s absolutely no guarantee that this [mic] would survive in deep space, during launch, during descent, on the surface. Nothing,” said Mezilis.
Similar audio-capturing mics on two previous Mars missions failed.
What eventually made it on board is an off the shelf mic that retails for a few thousand dollars.
“A half-inch diaphragm condenser microphone,” explained Mezilis, to be specific.
And, although the mic didn’t collect usable data during the decent, it did work for the clip that so many millions have listened to.
“It was just immense relief, like, Thank God,” laughed Mezilis.
As the sound continues to rack up listens, Jason’s unlike path includes advice that’s loud and clear:
“If anyone else is out there doing it, you can do it too,” he concluded.
Mezilis is already working on a new project with NASA: a space selfie cam. Basically, a 360-degree camera would be “tossed” off a landing rocket so it can capture the landing and disembarkment. Something tells me it would make an Instagram post that’s “out of this world.”