So, now we know what a laser sounds like on another world.

The US space agency's Perseverance rover has deployed its SuperCam instrument on Mars for the first time.

This high-intensity light probe can identify rocks at a distance. It's a technique that was also employed by Nasa's previous rover, Curiosity.

But Perseverance has some enhancements, including a microphone that allows us to actually hear the laser at work.

This isn't just some nice-to-have feature, a gimmick for PR purposes, but provides extra information that is useful to scientists.

The sound of the laser hitting rocks reveals knowledge such as the hardness of the targets being investigated.

"If we tap on a surface that is hard, we will not hear the same sound as when we fire on a surface that is soft," explained Naomi Murdoch, from the National Higher French Institute of Aeronautics and Space, in Toulouse.

"Take for example chalk and marble. These two materials have an identical chemical composition (calcium carbonate), but very different physical properties."