The coolest sound in the universe

Thanks to dubmann for finding this! Quoting him, as his enthusiasm comes through so eloquently:

The news has all had details that the US space probe Voyager I has transitioned out of the domain of solar space and is now in interstellar space. I was reading on article on this in the Atlantic magazine and they had a fascinating detail: the NASA scientists monitoring this used a frequency-response test to determine this. They tracked a solar explosion as it travelled out to where Voyager was and noted that its frequency as detected indicated the plasma around the spacecraft was 40x denser than it was in the outer reaches of the heliosphere (solar space). AND they had a recording on Soundcloud that depicts the sounds the spacecraft would have heard. Utterly wonderful.

Here’s the URL to the Atlantic article:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/09/we-made-it-humanity- > has-arrived-at-interstellar-space/279624/

And here’s the Soundcloud link directly

https://soundcloud.com/theatlantictech/what-voyager-1-heard-in > "

I spent some time (far too much!) moving out from the link he provided, and came across some other stuff -


We apparently sent a gold record out on Voyager. Made of gold! It was our collective human “calling card” - photos, mathematical symbols and proofs, a map of how to find us (gulp!), and … music!!

http://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/spacecraft/goldenrec.html

Chuck Berry made it on this gold record (singing Johnny B. Goode). Louis Armstrong did too. Blind Willy Johnson. Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Stravinski. Pygmies, and Aborigines. What, no Beatles??

The link has about a million fascinating things to click on!



The Soundcloud .wav is, as best as I can tell from reading these things, not what was actually heard by Voyager - I did not read of any actual audio audio microphones on the spacecraft (and even if there were, there’s not much matter out there to be compressed!). My best understanding of the NASA material is that it is some kind of audio representation of the frequency of the oscillations in velocity of magnetic field around the spacecraft. I wonder if those are the actual frequencies, or “octaved down” (or up?) by a few powers of ten …

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/voyager/voyager20130912.html#.UjU5an-4IT p

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/voyager/voyager20130912f.html#.UjU6Mn-4I To

What blew my mind as much as anything else is that Voyager’s signals are emitted with a total power of 23 Watts, described as the approximate power of the average refrigerator light bulb. By the time we receive them, the signals are a billionth of a billionth of a Watt. That is some fine software to pick the signal out from the noise of space! (160 bits/second transmission).

It’s also kind of cool how we humans determined the best way to tell those aliens how to play the record http://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/spacecraft/images/golden_record_diagram.jpg - expressing the rotational speed (16-2/3 RPM!) as a power of the “period of the fundamental transition of the hydrogen atom”. We sent a cartridge and stylus for convenience (Pioneer brand?? ). Oh, and there’s a picture to let the other guys know - the record is meant to be played from the outside in, not vice versa!

As one of the articles says … “It will be forty thousand years before they make a close approach to any other planetary system. As Carl Sagan has noted, ‘The spacecraft will be encountered and the record played only if there are advanced spacefaring civilizations in interstellar space. But the launching of this bottle into the cosmic ocean says something very hopeful about life on this planet.’”

“Deep down Louisiana close to New Orleans
Way back up in the woods among the evergreens …”

Given that it’ll take 40000 odd years to reach the next star I wouldn’t be surprised if we weren’t waiting for it at the other end for a big party, assuming we aren’t just distant echoes by then.

Apparently if I drove at my average speed on a journey to Dumfries, it would take me 25,558 years to drive to where voyager is now!!! Voyager would have taken 2.35 seconds to get to Dumfries (approx. 65 miles). Voyager Vs Car http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-21937524

Putting an actual microphone on the voyager would be a bit stupid :wink:.

so in 80,000 years expect a report back from the music critics of the nearest star.“nah, a bit dated”

Nah, 'coz you know, what goes around, comes around - it will possibly be all the rage again on the Intergalactic Top 40 Hit Parade by then!

Actually, the more I think about it, the more I am 1) Amazed, and 2) So Grateful that they included music on that disc. If you think about it, the surface area on that disc was the most limited resource on the planet … so much had to be left off!

And they didn’t just put some music on the disc … as far as I can tell, they heavily emphasized the connection between our planet and music. By contrast, just about the only “book” data put on the disc was a page out of Newton’s book, “System of the World”: http://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/spacecraft/images/image111.gif .

But a page from this book made it!! “Violin with musical score” - http://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/spacecraft/images/image116.gif

They also recorded greetings, in many languages: http://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/spacecraft/greetings.html . I not sure I’m entirely comfortable with the greetings in the Amoy, Min dialect: “Friends of space, how are you all? Have you eaten yet? Come visit us if you have time.” I hope whoever hears it doesn’t get the wrong idea, that our idea of hospitality is to offer ourselves up as the post-voyage snack!

But anyway, the music of earth was given SUCH huge prominence. I am so happy about that … I wonder who pushed that in the meetings! (“Well, music is very nice and all, Mr. Arty-Smarty guy (nice pink shirt, btw :unamused: ), but I think we ought to use the disc space instead for … Monster Truck Rally Videos!! … so THERE!!!”).

(PS - They really should have put Hoagy Carmichael’s “Stardust” on there, or David Bowie’s “Space Oddity”, or Lennon’s “Lucy In the Sky, With Diamonds” (THAT would throw them for a loop!).

Or the Byrds http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AvmUdIsrSww :wink:

And sometime in the distant future when V’ger ( :wink: ) returns and we notice it has recorded some alien voice, which after years of translation finally discover it says: “Hello, is this thing on?” :laughing:

There is a dispute about whether or not Voyager has left the solar system. It has passed the influence of Sol’s magnetosphere but is still well within its gravity well. The Oort Cloud is the edge of Sol’s gravity byond that Sol cannot hold an object in orbit. It is a collection of rocks and ice that circle the sun far beyond Pluto. It will take Voyager another 1500 years to reach the edge of the Oort Cloud. Don’t believe we’ll live to see it.

Ok Mr. Negative … where’s the “CAN DO” attitude!