Listen to the sound of a Martian sunrise


No amount of hearing will help you hear something as visual as a sunrise, especially one on Mars. Unless, of course, you make your own sound effects, as Dr. Domenico Vicinanza and Dr. Genevieve Williams did with a photo of the 5000th Opportunity rover morning on the Red Planet. The end result is this two-minute musical number which by definition is out of this world.

Using a technique called "data-sounding," the pair managed to translate the photo into this soothing, ethereal piece.

While the data is read directly, it is the interpretation that is the intelligent part:

The researchers created music by scanning an image from left to right, pixel by pixel, and observing the brightness and color information and matching them with the terrain elevation. They used algorithms to assign each element a specific tone and melody.

Slow and quiet harmonies are a consequence of the dark background and the lighter and sharper sounds in the middle of the piece are created by the sonorization of the bright solar disk.

The song was not just for our benefit – it was presented last week at the SC18 Conference in Dallas, where participants had the chance not only to hear the piece, but to feel this too:

[It was] presented using both conventional speakers and vibrational transducers so the audience could feel the vibrations with their hands, thus enjoying a first-person experience of a sunrise on Mars.

I suppose you can always put your hands on your speakers while you play. It's not the same, though.

[Anglia Ruskin University, via BGR]


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