Eleven finalists have been chosen to have their recordings sent to the Red Planet on the ExoMars 2020 mission.
The joint ESA-Roscosmos mission will investigate, among other things, signs of lightning on Mars using a scientific instrument mounted on the Kazachok surface platform.
Before the Czech-made electromagnetic wave analyser, that is part of the MAIGRET instrument mounted on the platform, can begin its search for possible lightning discharges on Mars, it must first be calibrated. To do this, it will broadcast a recording back to mission control.
The 11 sounds were chosen by an international jury and will be stored on a memory chip to travel to Mars inside the Kazachok landing platform.
“We selected messages that can represent humankind,’ said Eva Zažímalová, President of the Czech Academy of Sciences and member of the eight-person jury.
“The submissions were often moving and entertaining,” adds Jorge Vago, ExoMars Project Scientist and jury member, “narrowing down our selection to just 11 was a challenge but that is all we had room for on the instruments memory.”
One winner to broadcast
Of the eleven recordings that will travel 590 million km to Mars, only one recording will be transmitted back to Earth, so the second part of this competition has now begun.
The world can vote on their favourite recording from the shortlist – the recording with the most votes will be the only message to be broadcast back to Earth to calibrate the instrument.
All shortlisted candidates will receive certificates to acknowledge their role in the ExoMars programme.
The competition does not affect the mission. Test data on the instrument’s memory chip is needed to verify the functionality of the instrument so rather than send arbitrary sounds, this public outreach initiative was devised.
The electromagnetic wave analyser will measure fluctuations of the electromagnetic field in the range of audible frequencies and search for an answer to the question of whether lightning exists on Mars.
“If there is lightning on Mars, then it certainly won’t look like lightning on Earth”, says Ondřej Santolík, Principal Investigator of the Wave Analyzer Module. “We can only try to guess based on the information we have about the atmosphere on Mars, our instrument on ExoMars will reveal more.”
The Call from Mars project was created thanks to the cooperation of scientists with the Czech science journal Vesmír.
For further information please contact:
ESA ExoMars 2020 project scientist
Tel: +31 71 565 5211
Mob: +31 6 27 65 87 70
Department of Space Physics, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Czech Academy of Sciences
Tel: +420 731 478 881
Roscosmos ExoMars 2020 project scientist
Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IKI), Moscow, Russia