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Astronauts on Mars might trip up less if they can hear their footsteps

Spacesuits tend to muffle sounds, but hearing our footsteps may provide useful cues about our environment and reduce the risk of tripping

Space 2 March 2022

New Scientist Default Image

A mock-up spacesuit boot used in tests

Maryam Al Kuwaitti

Astronauts sent to explore Mars may be more sure-footed if their boots are fitted with microphones to help them hear their own footsteps, say the authors of research suggesting that sound is vital to our ability to step accurately.

The sound of a boot landing provides useful cues about the terrain, whether it is sandy, crusty or rocky, says Jose Berengueres at United Arab Emirates University. But spacesuits stop astronauts from feeling the ground under their feet and tend to muffle sound. The Apollo …