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The sounds of a March sunrise inspire short musical composition

Enlarge / The sonication process involved the allocation of specific tones and melodiesYouTube / NASA NASA's Mars Rover Opportunity became…

 The sonication process involved allocating specific tones and melodies to such properties in data such as brightness, color, and raising of the terrain.

Enlarge / The sonication process involved the allocation of specific tones and melodies

YouTube / NASA

NASA’s Mars Rover Opportunity became silent earlier this year, although it never recovers its full function, it had one last gift to give. Researchers have transformed Opportunity’s image of its 5,000 th sunrise on Mars to music using a process called data synthesis.

“Image signing is a truly flexible technology for exploring science and it can be used in several areas, from studying some properties of planet surfaces and atmospheres, for analyzing weather changes or for discovering volcanic eruptions,” says Domenico Vicinanza, Head of Research Group Sound and Game Engineering at Anglia Ruskin University. “In health science, it can give researchers new methods for analyzing the presence of certain shapes and colors, which is especially useful in imaging.”

He and his co-creator, University of Exeter, s Genevieve Williams, will debut their two-minute composition (“Mars Soundscapes”) at NASA’s booth at the Supercomputing SC1

8 conference this week in Dallas, Texas.

To create its composition, Vicinanza and Williams scanned the image, pixel with pixels, from left to right. Then, they assigned specific tones and melodies to such characteristics in data such as brightness, color and height of the terrain. You can listen to the resulting Martian “soundtrack” in the video below. Those who are happy to attend the conference will also be able to experience it via vibration sensors, feel the vibrations with their hands and listen to the sound.

This is not Vicinanzas first prelude to sonication. He composed earlier music based on particle physics data used to detect Higg’s boson, as well as from magnetometer readings from the Voyager mission. And in 2014, he composed a 12-minute piece (for harp, guitar, two violins, a keyboard, a clarinet and a flute) based on data from the four major experiments on the Large Hadron Collider to mark CERN’s 60 th anniversary,

“Mars Soundscapes.”

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