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A. Investigating The Sights And Sounds On Mars

Narrator: This is Science Today. Imagine hearing what it sounds like on Mars? We may find out later this year when the Mars Polar Lander touches down on the Red Planet equipped with a small recording device. Space scientist Greg DeLory of the University of California, Berkeley helped create the Mars Microphone to sample sounds while the lander probes the planet's climate and soil.

DeLory: Little green men was not what we plan to find, however we're open to anything, certainly. The most exciting thing we're going to hear is obviously the sound we didn't think of and that really is the motivation for developing any new instrument.

Narrator: DeLory admits we won't hear familiar sounds such as trees blowing in the wind or birds calling.

DeLory: But we are very interested in the sounds we are going to hear and that could be, possibly - the first recording of a Martian sandstorm. And within a sandstorm, there's theorized that there could be a type of lightning discharge. Maybe we'll hear that - Martian thunder, I think that's pretty exciting. The microphone is continuing on a tradition here of really trying to stimulate the public's awareness about space exploration and bring it that much closer.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.