The Phoenix lander has a microphone that is currently turned off. Are they ever going to turn it on? Surely, it could provide useful science data. It might be able to hear the wind. Possibly the thermal cycling of the subsurface ice might be audible. When the TEGA vibrators are on, the microphone might return useful engineering data that might help to diagnose any problems that might arise. Why not turn it on? At the very least, it would help with public outreach.
The microphone would be really useful and interesting, but I think that it has been kept off since Phoenix landed because there may be a problem with its circuitry that could possibly cause a bigger short circuit that might endanger the entire lander.
That's why it has not yet been used. I've heard that towards the very end of the mission, the managers might switch the mike on when the risk is not as great. Here's hoping!
Maybe it's a power consumption thing. Most probes are very tight with their power. There usually isn't enough to power all instruments at once.
Since The Phoenix Lander is kinda of Spin-off project of the (in)famous Mars Polar Lander; Phoenix has a microphone like it's predecessor there on mars.
But (I think) due to budget limits (or other thinks like this) it has been turned off also because there's NO SOFTWARE to manage it.
I wonder also WHY ON MARS NASA NEVER used a CHEAP THINK like a trivial webcam.
I said LIKE: I know that on mars poles thmperatures are way far from the one here on earth!
Also I agree it would quickly overload the memory, but I think even a low resolution device would have helped ALOT engineers to investigate the mars soil strange behaviour...
So they are going to turn on the microphone what always baffles me about the Martian atmosphere if it is that thin how could there be sound waves and why do we get major dust storms. Anyone got any ideas?
This seems as good of a thread as any to ponder the disconnect between a near vacuum and global dust storms. The sound waves would be no stretch as sound waves will travel, they just will be weak. We will see about that if they turn it on and if they release the data.
There is a growing interest to vortex formation on Earth and the connection to electrical fields. I suppose when I am long gone they will come to the realization that Mars dust devils and global dust storms are at least assisted by an atmospheric electric discharge phenomenon.
That being said the wind does blow. We have seen it whip the instrumentation and solar panels on Phoenix. Most global dust storms begin in Hellas Basin. This is an area of higher surface pressures that would give the wind more force. We have seen great dust plumes rise on the northern scarp along the thermal boundary just north of Phoenix.
I believe once the dust is airborne it sets up a thermal gradient. Temperatures during dust storms can rise by 40C on a global level. Just as the thermal gradient forms storms on the local level they would propagate the dust storm by creating more thermal boundaries.
The next question is why would not all dust storms become global. This is were the mind must wonder. The universe does have more secrets to come, some may shock you, pun intended.
Thanks Fred I am not a weather man but I have heard about the electromagnetic influences on storms and have mentioned it here Mars has a very crazy and anarchic magnetic field the loss of which partly or mostly allowed space to wash its atmosphere away. Is it possible what ever hit Mars to create the Hellas Basin changed its weather for good? Also if it snows a few km's up then that must mean the atmosphere is thicker up there with the triple point occuring lower down. Secrets indeed hidden beneath that surface.
the only reason NASA did not put a microphone on Curiosity is that they are afraid to accidentally record an Airbus flypast :D
there is not enough air on Mars for sound waves to travel in