Listening In: Lander to Record Mars Sounds

NASA scientists hope to hear what it sounds like on the surface of Mars for the first time when they attempt to switch on the Phoenix Mars Lander’s microphone in the next week or two, mission leaders announced on Monday.
“This is definitely a first,” said Phoenix principal investigator Peter Smith, of the University of Arizona, Tucson.
Phoenix’s microphone is a part of the Mars Descent Imager system that was included on the underside of the lander to take downward-looking images during the three minutes of descent before the spacecraft touched down on the planet’s surface. The MARDI on Phoenix was originally designed for the Mars Surveyor 2001 Lander missions, which were eventually canceled. The system is also similar to the one aboard 1999’s ill-fated Mars Polar Lander.
The plan to use the imager and microphone on May 25 (when Phoenix landed) were scrapped when tests showed that using the system would create an unacceptable risk to a safe landing for Phoenix.