Tuesday , July 27 2021

Listen to the Sound of a Sunrise Mars

There is no amount of listening that will help you hear something visual like sunrise, especially on Mars. Unless, of course, you make your own sound effects, like Dr. Domenico Vicinanza and Dr. Genevieve Williams do with a morning photo of the 5000 Opportunity rover on the red planet. The end result is this two minute music number which by definition is another world.

Using a technique called "data sonification", the couple is able to translate photos into this soothing and smooth part.

While the data is read in a direct manner, it's an interpretation that is a smart part:

Researchers create pieces of music by scanning images from left to right, pixel by pixel, and see brightness and color information and combine them with terrain elevation. They use algorithms to specify each element of a particular pitch and melody.

Quiet and slow harmony is a consequence of a darker background and a brighter, higher-pitched sound towards the center of the piece created by the sonification of a bright sun disk.

The music is not only for our benefit – it was presented last week at the SC18 Conference in Dallas, where participants had the opportunity not only to hear the song, but feel that is, too:

[It was] presented using conventional speakers and vibration transducers so that viewers can feel the vibrations with their hands, so enjoy the first person experience of sunrise on Mars.

I think you can always put your hand on your speaker when playing. But it's not quite the same.

[Anglia Ruskin University, via BGR]

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