7 REASONS Why Sound Travels Slower on Mars

7 REASONS Why Sound Travels Slower on Mars #Mars #Sound on Mars

NASA’s Perseverance Rover made the recording on Mars by microphone which found that sound travels slower on Mars than Earth. The researchers compared the Mars’ sound with the Earth’s sound and found that “Sound on Earth travels 100 meters faster than the sound of Mars”.

Also, the researchers discovered about two speed of sound on Mars. The first one is for high-pitched sounds whereas the other is for low-pitched sounds.

Why does sound travel slower on Mars?

Sound travels slower on Mars as compared to Earth because Martian Atmosphere is about 100 times less dense than Earth and is barely present due to carbon dioxide—resulting in very low atmospheric pressure on mars’ surface.

Below are the 7 reasons why the sound travels slower on Mars than on Earth:

1. Thin Atmosphere

The speed of sound is determined by the properties of the medium through which it travels. In a gas, such as the atmosphere of a planet, the speed of sound is determined by the temperature and density of the gas. The speed of sound is directly proportional to the square root of the gas temperature and inversely proportional to the square root of the gas density.

On Earth, the atmosphere is composed mostly of nitrogen and oxygen, and has a density of about 1.2 kilograms per cubic meter. The temperature of the atmosphere varies with altitude, but at sea level it is approximately 288 Kelvin (15 degrees Celsius). As a result, the speed of sound on Earth is approximately 343 meters per second (767 miles per hour).

On Mars, the atmosphere is composed mostly of carbon dioxide and has a density of about 0.02 kilograms per cubic meter, which is about 1% that of Earth’s atmosphere. The temperature of the Martian atmosphere varies with altitude as well, but on average is about 210 Kelvin (-63 degrees Celsius). As a result, the speed of sound on Mars is approximately 226 meters per second (661 miles per hour).

As a result of the lower atmospheric density and temperature, sound waves on Mars travel at a slower speed than they do on Earth. Additionally, the lower atmospheric pressure on Mars also contributes to the slower speed of sound.

The thin atmosphere of Mars also affects the propagation of sound waves in other ways. Because there are fewer molecules in the air to absorb sound, sound can travel farther on Mars than it can on Earth. However, sound waves can also be more easily absorbed by the surface of Mars, which is composed mostly of rock and dust. This can cause sound to be reflected and scattered, making it more difficult to detect and locate.

2. Lower Atmospheric Pressure

The speed of sound is directly related to the density of the medium through which it is traveling. On Earth, the density of the air is relatively constant at sea level, so the speed of sound is also relatively constant. However, on Mars the atmosphere is much thinner, which means that the density of the air is much lower. This lower density results in a slower speed of sound.

The atmospheric pressure on Mars is roughly only 1% of the atmospheric pressure on Earth, which means that there is much less air on Mars to transmit sound waves. This thin atmosphere results in the speed of sound being roughly 60% slower on Mars than on Earth.

Additionally, the temperature on Mars is much colder than on Earth, which also affects the speed of sound. Colder air is denser than warmer air, so the lower temperature on Mars also contributes to the slower speed of sound.

In summary, the lower atmospheric pressure and colder temperature on Mars both contribute to the slower speed of sound on the planet. These factors, combined with the thin atmosphere, make the sound travel slower on Mars than on Earth.

3. Colder Temperature

Sound travels faster in warm air than in cold air. This is because the molecules in warm air are farther apart than the molecules in cold air, which means that the sound waves have more space to travel through.

On Mars, the average surface temperature is around -80 degrees Fahrenheit (-62 degrees Celsius), which is much colder than the average temperature on Earth of around 59 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celsius). The colder temperature on Mars means that the air molecules are more tightly packed together, which in turn means that sound waves have less space to travel through.

In addition to the lower density of air on Mars, the colder temperature of the air on Mars also contributes to the slower speed of sound. This is because sound waves have to travel through more densely packed air molecules, which slows them down.

In summary, the colder temperature on Mars is one of the factors that contributes to the slower speed of sound on the planet. The colder air on Mars is denser than the warmer air on Earth, which means that sound waves have to travel through more tightly packed air molecules, slowing them down. This, combined with the thin atmosphere, makes sound travel slower on Mars than on Earth.

4. Separate Gas Compositions

The speed of sound is also affected by the composition of the gas that makes up the atmosphere. The speed of sound is different in different gases because the properties of the gas, such as its density and compressibility, affect how sound waves travel through it.

The atmosphere on Mars is primarily composed of carbon dioxide, which makes up about 96% of the planet’s atmosphere. In contrast, the Earth’s atmosphere is primarily composed of nitrogen and oxygen, with smaller amounts of other gases such as argon and carbon dioxide.

Carbon dioxide is denser and more compressible than nitrogen and oxygen, which means that sound waves travel more slowly through it. Additionally, the atmosphere on Mars is much thinner than on Earth, which means that sound waves have less air to travel through.

The combination of the different gas composition and the thinner atmosphere on Mars results in the speed of sound being slower on the planet than on Earth. The denser and more compressible carbon dioxide gas slows down the sound wave, and the thinner atmosphere means that the sound wave has less air to travel through.

In summary, the separate gas compositions between Earth and Mars plays a role in the slower speed of sound on Mars. The atmosphere on Mars is primarily composed of carbon dioxide, which is denser and more compressible than the nitrogen and oxygen that make up the majority of Earth’s atmosphere. This denser gas, combined with the thinner atmosphere on Mars, results in the slower speed of sound on the planet.

5. Different Gravitational Fields

On Earth, the gravitational force is relatively constant at sea level, which means that the density of the air is also relatively constant. However, on Mars, the gravitational field is weaker than on Earth, which means that the density of the air is also lower.

The weaker gravitational field on Mars means that the air molecules are less tightly packed together, which in turn means that sound waves have more space to travel through. This results in sound waves traveling faster on Mars than they would if the planet had a stronger gravitational field.

However, the weaker gravitational field is not the main factor that makes the sound slower on Mars, as the main factors are the lower atmospheric pressure and the colder temperature, which affect the density of the air, and the different gas composition, which affects the properties of the gas. The weaker gravitational field on Mars does however, play a small role in the slower speed of sound on the planet.

In summary, the gravitational field of a planet does play a small role in determining the speed of sound, but it is not the main factor that makes the sound slower on Mars. The weaker gravitational field on Mars means that the air molecules are less tightly packed together, which results in sound waves traveling faster on Mars. However, the main factors that make sound travel slower on Mars are the lower atmospheric pressure, colder temperature, and different gas composition.

6. Divergent Surface Compositions

The surface of Mars is also different, it’s covered with dust and rocks and the sound can be absorbed or scattered by these surfaces. This is due to different acoustic properties that can affect how sound waves travel through them.

On Mars, the surface is primarily composed of rock and soil, which are relatively good conductors of sound. However, the surface of Mars is also covered with a layer of fine dust, called regolith, which can scatter and absorb sound waves, making it difficult for sound to travel through.

When sound waves hit the surface of Mars, they can interact with the regolith, which can cause the sound waves to lose energy and become weaker. This scattering and absorption of sound waves by the regolith can slow down the speed of sound on the planet.

Additionally, the presence of dust storms on Mars can also affect the speed of sound. Dust storms can cause the atmosphere to become thick with dust, which can also scatter and absorb sound waves, slowing them down.

In summary, the divergent surface compositions of Mars play a small role in the slower speed of sound on the planet. The regolith and dust storms on Mars can scatter and absorb sound waves, which can slow down the speed of sound on the planet. This is in addition to the lower atmospheric pressure, colder temperature, different gas composition and weaker gravitational field that also make the sound travel slower on Mars than on Earth.

7. Materials like Water Ice and Subsurface PermaFrost

Water ice is known to be a good conductor of sound, and it is believed that subsurface permafrost on Mars may also contain water ice. If sound waves were to travel through layers of water ice or permafrost, they would likely travel faster than if they were traveling through rock or soil.

However, the presence of water ice and subsurface permafrost on Mars is limited, and most of the planet’s surface is composed of rock and soil. It is also believed that the water ice is not present in a liquid form but rather frozen in the subsurface, and it is not likely that sound waves will travel through them, as it would require a specific condition and design for that to happen.

Additionally, it is also believed that the subsurface permafrost on Mars would be found at depths too deep for sound waves to penetrate, so it would not have a significant effect on the speed of sound on the planet’s surface.

In summary, the presence of materials such as water ice and subsurface permafrost on Mars is not likely to have a significant effect on the speed of sound on the planet. Although water ice and permafrost may be good conductors of sound, they are not present in large enough quantities or in a form that would allow sound waves to travel through them. The main factors that make sound travel slower on Mars are the lower atmospheric pressure, colder temperature, different gas composition, weaker gravitational field and divergent surface compositions.

Conclusion

The sound on Mars is astonishingly soft when we hear that sound.

“When the sound was silent, we thought that the microphone was broken,” said Sylvestre Maurice, a talented astrophysicist at the University of Toulouse in France.

NASA said “Except for the wind, Natural sources of sound are unusual on Mars.”

NASA scientists predict that there will be more noise than now in the autumn months due to the higher atmospheric pressure of Mars. 

The sound recorded on Mars last year, researchers mentioned it the first time sounds from a foreign planet had ever been catched.

Example of Slower Sound

So, if a sound pitch travels 26 feet on the surface of Mars, it will travel 213 feet on Earth.   

FAQs

Why Mars has Two Speeds of Sound?

Researchers discovered about two speed of sound on Mars, first is for high-pitched sounds whereas the other is for low-pitched sounds. Mars has two sound speeds because of the higher availability of carbon-dioxide in its surface atmosphere.

What happens to sound on Mars?

Sound does not live upto long time because of the cool and thin air on Mars, thus it will not go to long distances.

Why do the sound pitches change in the Mars’ environment?

The change of sound pitches is due to the very low atmospheric pressure on the surface of Mars.

Can two people at 5-meter apart talk to each other?

Due to the slow speed of sound on Mars, it would make it difficult for two people to talk to each other 5-meter apart.

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