2001 Mars Odyssey“We have seen other worlds and even touched them via robotic senses,” said
Louis Friedman, Executive Director of The Planetary Society, “but the Mars
Microphone will offer humanity the first opportunity to listen to the
sounds on the surface of an alien world.”

Originally launched on NASA’s Mars Polar Lander in 1999, the Mars
Microphone was, unfortunately, lost with that mission when the spacecraft
never regained contact with Earth after beginning its descent to the
planet’s surface.

The instrument was developed by the University of California Berkeley’s
Space Sciences Laboratory for The Planetary Society. It is designed to
record whatever sounds there are on Mars, such as wind, dust and electrical
discharges in the Martian atmosphere as well as noises of the spacecraft
itself. The microphone can be triggered randomly by naturally occurring
sounds or it can be programmed to listen to specific lander actions.

The microphone will focus on sounds in frequencies audible to humans.
Another sensor, delivered by the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris,
will extend sound measurement to infra-sounds, generated at low frequencies.

The UC Berkeley team of Janet Luhmann, Dave Curtis and Greg Delory are
responsible for the Mars Microphone. Greg Delory will give special
briefings about the instrument at a NetLander meeting in Nantes, France,
April 2-5, 2001.

The Mars Microphone is constructed largely of off-the-shelf parts,
including a microphone similar to those in hearing aids and a
microprocessor chip used in speech recognition devices. The microphone uses
Sensory, Inc’s RSC-364 IC chip, the most popular IC for speech recognition
in consumer electronics. The microphone comes from a long line of
miniaturized, robust devices, several of which were used for astronaut
communications during the Apollo moon landings.

An international team of about ten partners contributes to CNES’s NetLander
mission, the main ones being Finland (FMI), Germany (DLR, IfP), Belgium
(SSTC), Switzerland and the USA (JPL). NetLander mission areas of study
include the deep internal structure of Mars, planetary boundary layer
phenomena, surface mineralogy and local geology, subsurface structure down
to water rich layers, global atmospheric circulation, and
surface/atmosphere interaction.

The Mars Microphone is paid for by donations from the members of The
Planetary Society. It was the first instrument ever funded by a public
interest organization to fly on a planetary mission. For more information,
visit our website at http://planetary.org.

For information on NetLander, go to
http://ganymede.ipgp.jussieu.fr/GB/projets/netlander/; visit
http://www.sciences.univ-nantes.fr/geol/nantes01/NetLander.html for details
on the meeting in Nantes.


Please contact Susan Lendroth for additional information about The
Planetary Society’s Mars Microphone: telephone (626)793-5100 (ext 237),
e-mail at susan.lendroth@planetary.org.

Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray and Louis Friedman founded the Society in 1980 to
advance the exploration of the solar system and to continue the search for
extraterrestrial life. With 100,000 members in over 140 countries, The
Planetary Society is the largest space interest group in the world.

The Planetary Society

65 N. Catalina Ave.

Pasadena, CA 91106-2301

Tel: (626) 793-5100

Fax: (626) 793-5528

E-Mail: tps@planetary.org