NASA's Best New Photos, Audio From Mars Perseverance Rover One Month Into Mission

NASA's Mars Perseverance rover has now taken and published over 10,800 raw images and multiple audio recordings since it arrived at the Red Planet on February 18.

These include some crystal-clear images of the rover's own wheels, which have been stitched together to form a short video of them wiggling from side to side.

The sets of animated images show seven different views of Perseverance shaking its wheels from the perspective of two different on-board cameras.

Image of Perseverance wheels moving
A .gif image shows Perseverance's wheel in different positions as though they are moving. NASA/JPL-Caltech

High-resolution photos of the surface of Mars have also shown Perseverance's tracks in the landscape after the rover drove for the first time on March 4.

One such image shows the rover's tracks leading away from the original landing site, which had clearly been scorched by the rockets of the rover's landing stage.

The image below shows how the rockets left behind a bright-orange patch of ground while the rest of the surface is coloured a dusty brown.

Perseverance tracks
Tracks left behind by Perseverance can be seen in this image, as well as the landing site NASA/JPL-Caltech

In addition, the latest audio clips released by rover include the sounds of its wheels and internal mechanisms as it drives along the surface of the red planet.

Microphones on board the car-sized rover managed to pick up the sounds made by its metal wheels for the first time as it moved over the arid Martian desert, NASA announced on Wednesday.

The space agency has uploaded the recordings to Soundcloud. The full-length one is over 16 minutes long, and captured the sounds made by the rover as it travelled 90 feet on March 7.

In the recordings, pops and rattles can be heard accompanied by background noise and a near-constant high-pitched scratching sound.

NASA said an engineering team is trying to work out where the scratching noise had come from. One possible explanation is that it is a result of the Martian surface interacting with the rover, but it could also be electromagnetic interference.

Another much shorter clip of the sound recording has also been released, which NASA engineers cut from the raw audio and processed to filter out some of the background noise.

Dave Gruel, lead engineer for the mission's landing camera and microphone system, joked: "If I heard these sounds driving my car, I'd pull over and call for a tow.

"But if you take a minute to consider what you're hearing and where it was recorded, it makes perfect sense."

Vandi Verma, a senior engineer and rover driver at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), said: "A lot of people, when they see the images, don't appreciate that the wheels are metal. When you're driving with these wheels on rocks, it's actually very noisy."

The recordings are not particularly clear, but they were recorded by the rover's descent and landing microphone which was not intended to work on Mars' surface. NASA has described it as "off-the-shelf".

Perseverance does have another microphone which is designed for surface recordings, and it is built into the rover's SuperCam instrument.

On March 10 NASA released audio captured from that microphone which demonstrated the popping sounds made by the rover's on-board laser.

Perseverance uses the laser to zap nearby rocks. This produces a sound, which scientists can examine in order to work out the physical structure of the rocks, such as how hard they are.

Roger Wiens, the principal investigator for Perseverance's SuperCam instrument, said: "When we first dreamed up this instrument eight years ago, we worried that we were being way too ambitious. Now it is up there working like a charm."

Earlier recordings also documented faint sounds of Martian wind, taken on rover's fourth day.