BEACON TRANSCRIPT – Forty years ago, NASA launched the Voyager 1 spacecraft into space. This was a huge moment for astrophysics and space exploration, so the scientists decided to celebrate it in a unique way. They put together the data sent by the spacecraft back to Earth in all its 40 years of existence.
Voyager 1 observed the Solar System for 40 years
Voyager 1’s 40th anniversary is a big celebration, so NASA decided to make it memorable. The scientists took all the recordings and data ever collected by the spacecraft, and put them at great use. Voyager 1 had a telescope aboard it, which managed to record images of all kinds of particles present in space, including nuclei, protons, or alpha particles.
Based on all these 40 years’ worth of observation, NASA compressed all the information into three minutes of music. The melody tells the story of Voyager 1 and its journey, from 1977 up to the present day, and was produced through a truly interesting process.
The observations have been converted into melody
All the findings of Voyager 1 have been classified with a number. Each number contains an individual measurement spreading over a period of 26 days. All the findings captured in 26 days were compressed into one single musical note, through a process called sonification.
This process consists of taking all the measurements, as well as the flight data which corresponded to them, and then converting them into sounds. However, the scientists needed to use concepts of orchestration and musicality to produce a harmonious result.
Voyager 1 recorded three dramatic moments in its journey. The first one took place when it approached Jupiter, the second when it got close to Saturn, and the third one when it finally exited the Solar System. All of them will appear as peaks in the Voyager melody, which is to be presented next Monday in Denver, Colorado.
Image Source: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory