Saturday, June 10, 2006

Sounds on Mars

This week's Physics News update email brought to my attention some acoustics research presented at the yearly conference of one of my professional societies, the Acoustical Society of America. The work was performed by researchers from Penn State University (USA) and is about simulating how sound travels on the planet Mars. Here is an excerpt:
... detailed computer calculations that simulate how sound travels through the Martian atmosphere, which is much thinner than Earth's (exerting only 0.7% of the pressure of our atmosphere on the surface) and has a very different composition (containing 95.3% carbon dioxide, compared to about 0.33% on our planet). The loss of 1999's Mars Polar Lander, which was to record sounds directly on the planet, has compelled researchers to find other means to study how sound travels there.
This is a technical piece of work, but if you have a science background of any type it should be clearly understandable. For those who are into this type of thing, the simulation algorithm used was Direct Simulation Monte-Carlo. An overview of the paper in layman's language is available at the Acoustical Society's website. It also includes a link to a video (which unfortunately I haven't been able to get to play yet due to some codec error) (UPDATE: they have fixed the problem)

1 comment:

Keith said...

ScienceNOW Daily News has picked up this story and has a good writeup. Link is: