Scientists know a lot about Mars, at least when it comes to what it looks like. Sound, on the other hand, is a lot more challenging, and it’s not like we have high-powered microphones listening to the wind sweep across the Martian plains.
Now, researchers from Anglia Ruskin University and the University of Exeter have created an interesting piece of music that wasn’t just inspired by Mars, but was actually composed by a computer algorithm using a Mars sunrise as data. The result is a surprisingly pleasing piece of music, and you can listen to it yourself.
The piece is only a couple of minutes long, so go ahead and give it a listen:
Pretty neat, huh? But how exactly was it created? Anglia Ruskin University describes its creation as follows:
Researchers created the piece of music by scanning a picture from left to right, pixel by pixel, and looking at brightness and colour information and combining them with terrain elevation. They used algorithms to assign each element a specific pitch and melody.
As you might assume, the quieter notes and flowing background sounds come from the dark area surrounding the Sun in the image. Higher pitched notes are brighter pixels near the bright orb in the center.
“We are absolutely thrilled about presenting this work about such a fascinating planet,” Dr. Domenico Vicinanza, one of the scientists involved in the project, said in a statement. “Image sonification is a really flexible technique to explore science and it can be used in several domains, from studying certain characteristics of planet surfaces and atmospheres, to analysing weather changes or detecting volcanic eruptions.”
The piece will actually be “performed,” so to speak, at the SC18 supercomputing conference in Dallas on November 13th. Audience members will hear the song through traditional speakers as well as “vibrational transducers” that will let them feel it. Pretty neat.