​Voyager sonification

Transforming 36 years of spacecraft data into a musical duet.

 

Challenge

The topic of research and education networking tends to get overlooked beyond the telecoms and technology media. Yet the benefit it delivers to society is huge. How do you demonstrate the power of high-speed networks to a non-technical audience - and capture the attention of the world’s media?

 

Solution

Use the GÉANT network to sonify 36 years’ worth of NASA Voyager spacecraft data. Then convert it into a musical duet.

 

This project was the work of Domenico Vicinanza, Network Services Product Manager at GÉANT. A trained musician with a PhD in Physics, he also takes the role of Arts and Humanities Manager, exploring new ways for representing data and discovery through the use of high-speed networks.

 

Using the grid computing facilities of EGI, GÉANT was able to create the duet live at the NASA booth at the Super Computing 2013 event, using its superfast network to transfer data to and from NASA.

 

Results

The Voyager sonification project provided a fun, accessible vehicle to demonstrate the benefit of research and education networks to society—to a wider audience than the traditional technology press.

 

Data sonification itself - representing data by means of sound signals – is increasingly used to accelerate scientific discovery; from epilepsy research to deep space discovery.

 

Listen to the duet here: https://soundcloud.com/geant-sounds/sonification-of-voyager-1
 

“I wanted to compose a musical piece celebrating the Voyager 1 and 2 *together*, so used the same measurements (proton counts from the cosmic ray detector over the past 37 years) from both spacecraft, at exactly the same point of time, but at several billions of Kms of distance one from the other. I used different groups of instruments and different sound textures to represent the two spacecraft, synchronising the measurements taken at the same time.”
Domenico Vicinanza, GÉANT