The NASA Mars 2020 Rover that lifted off successfully earlier today (Thursday, July 30) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida is equipped with the capability to deliver imagery and sound from the “Red Planet,” the latter to be achieved with the application of components from DPA Microphones.
Scheduled to touch down on Mars in February 2021, the spacecraft is outfitted with DPA 4006 omnidirectional microphones to capture audio while a MMA-A digital audio interface will be used to record and send audio to a computer through its USB connection. Both mics are paired with MMP-G modular active cables designed to act as preamplifiers.
DPA won the contract from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), who assembed it. “These products will be in space indefinitely, which is a testament to DPA’s quality and resiliency,” says René Mørch, product manager at DPA Microphones. “We’re honored to be a part of this mission.”
The trip to Mars is expected to take seven months and will subject the Rover to extreme temperatures (environments could be -100 degrees Celsius/-148 degrees Fahrenheit) as well as travel pressure both in and out of the atmosphere along with intense vibrations associated with traveling in a rocket. The spacecraft design team has created a specialized enclosure to mount the MMA-A interface inside the rover chassis and in cooperation with JPL/NASA, the DPA R&D team created a custom MMP-G amplifier housing to bolt onto the exterior of the Rover.
After the Rover has landed safely on the surface of Mars, the Rover’s computer will gather the stored MMA-A audio data and the video imagery from the entry, decent and landing cameras to educate and entertain the global public. Although the audio and video data is not mission critical, it should also prove to be very informative to engineers and scientists.