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In Space, No One Can Hear You Sample
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In Space, No One Can Hear You Sample

Space

In Space, No One Can Hear You Sample

In Space, No One Can Hear You Sample
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NASA just released a collection of sound effects from both this world and deep, intergalactic space into the Public Domain. They are now available for all of us to enjoy and perhaps use to make music.

KAREN GRIGSBY BATES, HOST:

Hear that? That's what our planet sounds like from space. And that?

(SOUNDBITE OF LIGHTENING ON JUPITER)

GRIGSBY BATES: That's lightning on Jupiter. NASA recently dipped into its sound archive and dusted off over 60 recordings from the past 50 years of space exploration. It's uploaded all the sounds to SoundCloud, an online audio distribution site, where you can listen to and download the entire library for free. There are some historic sounds you might expect like...

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

NEIL ARMSTRONG: That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ARMSTRONG: The Eagle has landed.

GRIGSBY BATES: But then there are others that are kind of mind bending.

(SOUNDBITE OF WATER VAPOR ESCAPING ENCELADUS)

GRIGSBY BATES: That's the sound of Enceladus, one of Saturn's many moons, spewing out massive plumes of water vapor from its icy surface. And here are the sounds of Saturn's colorful auroras.

(SOUNDBITE OF SATURN'S AURORAS)

GRIGSBY BATES: But wait - how's it possible to hear light? And how is it that NASA was able to record sounds in space where sound doesn't exist? Well, scientists can sonify non-auditory data by assigning noises to their different values. So patterns and silent light waves become...

(SOUNDBITE OF STARLIGHT)

GRIGSBY BATES: ...The sound of starlight. Jason Townsend is NASA's deputy social media manager. He says since NASA's space probe Voyager 1 escaped the sun's magnetic fields, it's been able to collect data from outside our solar system.

JASON TOWNSEND: One of the other sounds that's really kind of far out actually is from one of our Voyager probes, which is out there right now in between the stars, known as interstellar space. And so it actually collected data that is the sound of interstellar plasma. And so that's a really interesting sound that's literally from the object that's the most distant from Earth of a man-made object ever.

GRIGSBY BATES: Townsend says you can even hear the sounds of the future, so to speak.

TOWNSEND: Our space launch system, better known as SLS, they are right now doing all sorts of testing. And one of the sounds is of an acoustic test fire. And so that's a rocket that's going to carry us deeper and further than we've ever gone in space before. And it's going to go out past the Moon and potentially take humans to Mars.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED ASTRONAUT: Three, two, one.

GRIGSBY BATES: The National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 requires NASA to share its work and findings with as many people as possible.

TOWNSEND: And so, you know, things like social media and SoundCloud and everything are just the latest step in that journey.

GRIGSBY BATES: Townsend hopes that people, especially musicians and producers, will get creative with the sound library.

TOWNSEND: If you're a DJ and you're looking for a sound that, you know, may be literally out of this world, you know, one of these NASA sounds may be completely appropriate for that.

GRIGSBY BATES: Or perhaps just use them for even more terrestrial purposes.

TOWNSEND: Such as make them into a ring tone for your phone or, you know, make them into things like computer alert sounds. I mean, it'd be kind of cool if every time you have an error message pop up on your computer, it would say Houston, we've had a problem.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JACK SWIGERT: OK, Houston, we've had a problem here.

JACK LOUSMA: This is Houston. Say again please.

JIM LOVELL: Houston, we've had a problem. We've had a main B bus undervolt.

LOUSMA: Roger. Main B undervolt. OK, standby 13. We're looking at it.

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