DPA Microphones on Perseverance Rover mission to Mars

DPA Microphones will soon be recording audio on the surface of the Red Planet, as the official ears of NASA’s Perseverance Rover mission. Due to touch down in February 2021, the Perseverance Rover will be equipped with a selection of equipment from DPA, ready to record sounds from the Martian surface for the first time.

Quite what we’ll hear in the thin martian atmosphere is unclear. The Danish audio specialist supplies high-quality condenser microphone solutions for live sound recording, installation, theatre and broadcast, but this is uncharted territory.

Produced at the DPA factory in Denmark, the brand’s 4006 omnidirectional microphone will capture audio while the MMA-A Digital Audio Interface records and send audio to the onboard computer. Both will be paired with MMP-G Modular Active Cables, which act as ultra-transparent pre-amplifiers. 

The Perseverance mission successfully launched on July 30, out of Florida, atop an Atlas rocket, on a mission to gather rock and soil samples, in a search for evidence of past life.

DPA won the contract from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory based on its products ability to perform under demanding environments and the ability to deliver industry standard communication interfaces. DPA microphones can withstand the extreme conditions associated with space travel, leave a small footprint and connect to a computer with a USB interface. “These products will be in space indefinitely, which is a testament to DPA’s quality and resiliency,” says René Mørch, product manager. “We’re honoured to be a part of this mission.”

 The trip to Mars will take seven months, during which time the Rover and its onboard equipment will be subjected to extremes in temperatures and pressure. To help protect the hardware, the spacecraft design team has created a specialised enclosure to mount the MMA-A interface inside the rover chassis. In cooperation with JPL/NASA, the DPA R&D team have also created a custom MMP-G amplifier housing to bolt onto the exterior of the Rover. 

For the first time, the spacecraft has the capability to capture sound and vision as it descends through the Martian atmosphere.

 Once Perseverance has landed safely on the surface of Mars, the buggy’s computer will gather the stored MMA-A audio data and the video imagery from the entry, descent and landing cameras and relay them back to Earth. And the world will be listening to the results.

 For more visit dpamicrophones.com.