A clip of a high-pitched scratching noise recorded on Mars has been released by NASA scientists.
The curious metallic crunching sound dominates the 16 minute clip taken from the Perseverance rover.
Rather than being the product of little green men or a mysterious extra-terrestrial force, the odd noise has a slightly more explicable source.
According to NASA scientists they were made by the rover’s six metal wheels and suspension as it made its first test drive two weeks ago.
The recordings were released today by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
“If I heard these sounds driving my car, I’d pull over and call for a tow,” said Dave Gruel, a senior NASA engineer on the rover team, in a written statement.
“But if you take a minute to consider what you’re hearing and where it was recorded, it makes perfect sense.”
Perseverance carries two microphones, one of which has already captured the sounds of wind and rock-zapping lasers.
The other was meant to record the descent and landing, but it didn’t pick up any sounds of the rover’s arrival at Mars.
However, it did manage to record the first test drive on 4 March.
“A lot of people, when they see the images, don’t appreciate that the wheels are metal,” said Vandi Verma, a senior engineer and rover driver at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California.
“When you’re driving with these wheels on rocks, it’s actually very noisy.”
The rover, which is said to be in “great shape” after the landing, was launched from Cape Canaveral Florida, last July.
Its mission is to search the ancient Martian environment for signs that life once existed on the planet.
The seven-month space voyage, officially named Mars 2020, has been nine years in the making.
Not long after its successful landing, the rover began sending remarkable pictures from the surface of the alien lake it had landed on.