NASAs Curiosity rover has been trundling around Mars for a whole year now, doing science and snapping pictures so well all be jealous of the awesome time its having. The rover is bristling with scientific gear and sensors, but one very special instrument comes with an added bonus. It can sing the Curiosity rover a happy birthday tune all the way up there on Mars with no one else around to hear it.
The instrument in question is the SAM, which stands for Sample Analysis at Mars. Its a tiny organic chemistry lab on Curiosity used to analyze materials scooped up by the rover. To get the fine Martian soil to fall down into the SAM chamber, researchers designed the mechanism to vibrate at high frequency. This produces an audible pitch. Usually its just a high buzz, but on Curiositys birthday, its been reprogrammed to sing the classic happy birthday tune.
Curiosity arrived on Mars almost exactly a year ago, and has since provided nearly 24 gigabytes of raw data and 36,700 high resolution images. It has fired its laser 75,000 times as it investigated rocks and other Martian features, all while driving over a mile on another planet. Curiosity is currently headed for Mount Sharp at the center of Gale Crater, where NASA hopes there will be unique geology to study.
As for the birthday tune, youre supposed to pay Warner Music for a license to perform that song, but there are no representatives on Mars to make the collection. If they want their money, theyll have to start funding manned space flight research.
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