15 - The music of interstellar space

Domenico Vicinanza (Dante)

Launched in 1977 to study the outer solar system, Voyager 1 still continues to explore the outer edges of our known universe, and amazingly is still
transmitting data to NASA’s Deep Space Network on Earth.
At SuperComputing (SC12) and with NASA’s help, Domenico Vicinanza downloaded this data from the Voyager 1 craft, where it was then sent across the Atlantic to EGI.eu, the biggest grid computing facility in Europe, using links procured through the ACE partnership and through SCInet, Internet2 and GÉANT networks. A sonification algorithm then converted data into melodies which then travelled back to Salt Lake City where they were arranged in a concert piece and played live at SC12 to an audience lucky enough to be the first people ever to discover the sound of interstellar space, and the edge of the solar system as we know it!

Why sonification?
Data sonification is the representation of data by means of sound signals. Sonification is increasingly used in many fields, from data analysis to
monitoring, from training to the arts. At SC12, the music was used to demonstrate how R&E networking together with grid computing can provide vast computing resources to academic users, in this case to cooperatively enable an artistic demonstration based on data audification.

Please acknowledge the NASA National Space Science Data Center and the Space Physics Data Facility for usage of Voyager 1 data from this site
in publications and presentations.

Sonification credits:
Mariapaola Sorrentino (ASTRA and LHCOpenSymphony, Cambridge, UK) and Giuseppe La Rocca (INFN Catania, Italy)

Illustrating the power of R&E networks and grid computing by sonifying data from NASA Voyager 1, the 35 year old space probe 18 billion kilometres from Earth.

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