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Viral video does not include actual sounds from Mars

February 20, 2021 GMT

CLAIM: Video from the surface of Mars includes genuine sounds from the surface of the planet.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The Mars Curiosity rover, which was not equipped with microphones, captured the panoramic photograph that forms the basis for this video. The sound effects were edited into the video, NASA spokesman Andrew Good confirmed to The Associated Press.

THE FACTS: The camera pans across the surface of Mars, with wind-like sounds playing in the background.

“Stop everything for 26 seconds and watch this,” one Twitter user urged his followers on Friday. “Footage, with sound (!) from the surface of another planet. Just incredible.”

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“Here’s some footage (with sound!) from the surface of another planet, and you’re just gonna scroll past it without even noticing to continue looking at memes, aren’t you,” another Twitter user quipped.

More than 6 million Twitter users viewed the video on Friday, and tens of thousands retweeted it, including an Axios journalist and a Georgia state election official who debunked scores of false claims last year.

However, the video does not include genuine sound, as the NASA Mars Curiosity rover, which captured it, does not have microphones, according to Good.

It’s also not a real video, but a panoramic photograph edited into video form, Good said.

Ashwin Vasavada, a project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, identified the photograph as the space agency’s “1.8-billion pixel mosaic,” captured in November 2018.

“Curiosity does not have any sound from Mars,” Vasavada told the AP.

NASA has picked up seismic vibrations from the surface of Mars, but has never recorded sounds from the surface of the planet using microphones, Good said.

The space agency’s Perseverance rover, which landed on Mars this week, is expected to capture sounds from the planet using microphones for the first time.

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This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.


Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536