After more than 60 years of planetary exploration, the very first sounds from Mars were recorded very recently by the two microphones onboard the NASA Perseverance rover. A few months later, the CNSA Zhurong rover also landed with a microphone, showing the rising interest in acoustics for the exploration of Mars. Besides Mars, the use of acoustic is even more favorable on denser atmospheres like Venus and Titan, as will be experienced by the Dragonfly’s microphones heading to Titan in the 2030’s and the acoustic projects under study for Venus. Indeed, acoustic can provide key insights to understand interactions planetary surfaces and atmosphere.
This growing interest by planetary scientists complements a decade of increasing interest by terrestrial acousticians, who have been conducting theoretical studies on what might be gained from planetary acoustics and how this might be achieved. Unless these two communities are brought together to strategize, opportunities will be wasted through sub-optimally-designed planetary experiments, and the ambitions of both communities will not be realized. The team here is to bring them together and build a planetary acoustic community, which does not exist so far. Our international team will therefore dedicate its efforts to adapt acoustic methods commonly used on Earth to extraterrestrial atmospheres, and thus, to promote the potential of acoustics for the exploration of the Solar System. This team gathers, for the first time, planetary scientists, acousticians and instrument scientists with the ambition to draw the roadmap of planetary acoustics for the coming decades.