NASA’s Perseverance rover recorded the screechy sounds of its own driving on Mars

Perseverance rover
A photo of NASA’s Perseverance rover taken by its onboard Navigation Camera, March 7, 2021.

NASA’s Perseverance rover has started taking joy rides on Mars – and recording what those drives sound like.

The agency released a 16-minute audio clip on Wednesday in which Perseverance’s wheels can be heard crunching over the Martian surface. The sounds aren’t pleasant. Odd scratching noises can be heard on the recording as the rover shakes, rattles, and rolls through the Jezero Crater.

According to Vandi Verma, a senior NASA engineer and rover driver, some of the bangs and screeches can be chalked up to Perseverance’s metal wheels.

“When you’re driving with these wheels on rocks, it’s actually very noisy,” she said in a press release.

NASA scientists think the scratching noises could either come from electromagnetic interference from one of the rover’s other instruments, or just road noise as the rover’s wheels and suspension do their jobs.

“If I heard these sounds driving my car, I’d pull over and call for a tow,” Dave Gruel, NASA’s lead engineer for Perseverance’s camera and microphone systems, said in the release. “But if you take a minute to consider what you’re hearing and where it was recorded, it makes perfect sense.”

Here’s a 90-second audio clip of highlights from a 90-foot drive Perseverance took on March 7.

Audio of Martian wind and rock-vaporizing lasers

These aren’t the first sounds Perseverance has beamed back to Earth.

A few days after it landed on February 18, the rover captured sounds of a Martian breeze. The clip was the first audio recording scientists had ever collected from Mars’ surface.

Engineers equipped Perseverance with two microphones. The Entry Descent and Landing (EDL) Cam microphone is the one that recorded the rover’s driving sounds. The mic was primarily meant to record sounds from the landing, but it failed to do so. The second microphone is attached to the rover’s SuperCam instrument and was designed to collect audio of Perseverance’s lasers zapping Martian rocks.

Last week the SuperCam mic recorded audio of 30 such laser impacts. The staccato pops on the recording below are the sound of the laser vaporizing rocks.

By having the rover zap the Martian surface in this way, scientists can learn more about how hard Martian rocks are and what they’re made of.

According to Gruel, both microphones will continue collecting audio during the rest of the rover’s mission. The robot is poised to spend the next two years scouring the Jezero Crater for signs of ancient alien life and collecting rock samples.

perseverance mars rover jezero crater
An illustration of Perseverance exploring Mars’ Jezero Crater.

Perseverance is NASA’s fifth and most sophisticated Mars rover. The agency previously equipped two Martian spacecraft with microphones: the Mars Polar Lander and the Phoenix lander. But the mic on the former failed, and the latter never turned on its microphone.

NASA’s InSight lander, which touched down on Mars in 2018, also enabled scientists to listen to the Martian wind, but in a different way. The lander is equipped with a seismometer to study Mars quakes, so the tool can sense vibrations that wind causes as it gusts across InSight’s solar panels.

The low-pitch sounds of these vibrations are audible to the human ear.

Read the original article on Business Insider

How Snapchat is Preparing for the Next Creator Movement

2020 has seen many brands and platforms step outside of their comfort zones and experiment with ways they can deliver content at scale and create personal experiences. A player of late that has stood out in departure from the original focus on intimate communications is Snapchat.

Here’s a breakdown of what the company has released these past few weeks and what they could mean for marketers and creators.

Making video creations and communication more expressive with ‘Sounds’

Earlier this fall Snapchat released ‘Sounds,’ a TikTok-rival feature that allows users to enhance their Snaps with music from a curated catalog of both emerging and established artists. Tracks can be added pre or post-capture and then shared either publicly, via your Story, or directly to specific connections.

To add music before recording video, select the Sounds tool designated by the music notes icon on the right-hand side of the Camera screen and select a track from the Featured Sounds list. Alternatively, use the Sounds tool after taking a Snap to drop in a song after you record.

The current Sounds catalog offers “millions” of licensed songs from Snap’s music industry partners including Warner Music Group, NMPA. and Universal Music Publishing Group. Per Variety, beyond music, Snapchat is also working on introducing the ability for users to create their own sounds and add them to Snaps — an update expected to roll out globally on the platform in the coming months.

Acquiring mobile music app Voisey

Delving even further into the music industry space, Snapchat parent company Snap Inc. recently acquired startup Voisey, a mobile music app founded in 2018 that allows users to record short videos using professional vocal effects and backing tracks provided by producers. Clips are one-minute in length following the ever popular short-form format dominating the social media sphere.

Think of it as a musical equivalent of stickers and filters, where users can pick from a selection of user-created backing beats, hit record, and then customize the content by overlaying to the track with their own vocals. More specifically, they can add auto-tune, choral, spacey amongst other voice effects.

“We are on the verge of a revolution in music creation with the boundaries between creator and audience blurring like never before. Apps like Voisey focus on giving consumers tools that enable them to go from zero to 100 faster than ever before,” said Mark Mulligan founder of MIDiA Research in a statement to Business Insider.

The move seemingly follows a trend in which apps are more eager than ever to deliver unique creative at scale. Instagram, for instance, allows users to create high quality photos, TikTok the ability to create share-worthy short-form videos, and now, the window of opportunity centers on the next generation of music creators and giving them the tools to collaborate and work efficiently and effectively.

Unveiling ‘Spotlight,’ a short-form video feed

Taking a page out of TikTok’s playbook and Instagram’s ‘Reels,’ Snapchat introduced a short-form video feed option, ‘Spotlight,’ showcasing the top Snaps submitted on the platform by more than 249 million users and offering financial incentive for the most entertaining content. Snaps in this designated feed will play on a continuous loop until the user swipes to the next one. Previously, Snapchat users were limited to seeing snaps posted by their friends or posted by publishers in the app’s Discover feature.

As part of the push, Snapchat is offering a million dollars per day in funding, which it will distribute to the best Spotlight clips. The app will utilize a similar algorithm to TikTok in ranking each clip based on engagement. In particular, factors like total views, view time, and number of Favorites and Shares will be weighed. Clips are displayed in full screen, so the intent is for the platform to utilize specific indicators to better tailor the feed over time. In terms of how brands can get involved, a spokesman said Snap expects it will introduce ads to the product in coming months.

Instagram’s Explore page, TikTok’s ‘For You,’ YouTube’s recommended videos, and now Spotlight — it’s clear that a discovery engine is no longer a nice-to-have but a must-have as creators become the crux of social media engagement. With an emphasis on exclusive content, these feeds are evolving as the key differentiator that will continue to etch platforms out above their competitors in the fight for online talent.

Photo credit via The Verge

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