6
$\begingroup$

According to the Wikipedia page for the song "Happy Birthday To You", the Mars rover Curiosity sang to itself on its birthday in 2013, using its SAM as a musical instrument.

The page for the SAM indicated it is a suite of tools for chemical analysis. So how exactly did it produce notes? Were there centrifuges spinning at a specific rate, were gasses allowed to "squeak" out? Did they plan this ahead of time, did they test it's singing functionality before its trip to Mars?

$\endgroup$
8
$\begingroup$

This NASA video about the birthday song answers most of your questions: the SAM unit uses vibration to "make the soil samples go down", and the frequencies used include audible ones. So by commanding the SAM to vibrate at the right frequencies a simple tune can be played. The Goddard Spaceflight Centre has an exact duplicate of the SAM on Mars which used to "test our experiments before it is transmitted to Mars" (which demonstrates the tune in the video), so it seems that the planning was done with the duplicate.

$\endgroup$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.