In Antarctica, scientists often discover strange noises, from moans of melting glaciers to seismic waves splashing through ice shelves. A space weather station operated by the British Antarctic Survey may contain a wide variety of acoustic curiosities that have been collected on the frozen continent.
Thanks to BAS researcher Nigel Meredith, these sounds are now making their way into art, music and even the video game Elite Dangerous.
Space weather – from dazzling Auroras to dangerous geomagnetic storms – occurs when charged particles bombard the Sun and interact with Earth's magnetic field. To study these phenomena, scientists have access to a number of instruments, including the BAS's Halley Research Station, which uses high-frequency radio receivers to detect electromagnetic waves generated by lightning and geomagnetic storms on the Antarctic Brunt Ice Shelf.
The data from these waves, as well as data collected from satellites, feeds into predictive models that can help earthlings prepare for large space weather events that can disrupt satellites and even electrical networks. However, the radio waves collected at Halley also fall within the frequency range of human hearing and audio software can be used to convert these electromagnetic signals into actual noise.
And it turns out that this noise is something spooky: [1
A few years ago, Meredith began collaborating with artist Diana Scarborough on "Sounds of Space "Working together, an art project focused on finding creative ways for Halley's sounds with the public. He gave a talk on the project at the Cambridge Science Festival in 2017, which happened to be a sound engineer from Elite Dangerous in the audience. Their chance encounter led to a more formal meeting and eventually to a partnership in which the sounds collected by Halley were integrated into a gameplay update released on December 11th.
Elite Dangerous, for the uninitiated, is a 1: 1 replica of our Milky Way, where players can trade aliens, or just explore 400 Millions of procedurally generated star systems. The game is known wherever it is possible to achieve astronomical accuracy. Coincidentally, TRAPPIST-1, a system of seven exoplanets NASA had announced last year, was basically rebuilt. With this latest update, players can scan planets throughout the galaxy and hear sounds that are based on data collected from an Antarctic research station.
"When we updated our reconnaissance gameplay for the latest game update, we immediately knew that the BAS sounds fit perfectly," said Joe Hogan, senior audio designer for Elite Dangerous told Earther E-mail. The team, Hogan said, wanted players to feel like scientists tuning an old analog radio and focusing on planet, star, and more.
The sounds that are suitable for the game come in a variety of flavors, based on the phenomenon of origin, for example, thunderstorms called "Spherik" free impulses of radio energy that knock like hail on A sidewalk rattles:
Some energy from the lightning bolt can escape The earth's atmosphere is drawn into the opposite hemisphere in front of magnetic field lines, producing descending tones known as "Whistlers "what sounds like something that could pick up the Starship Enterprise communication system from the end of a wormhole:
Finally there is what Meredith calls "chorus," emissions produced in the earth's magnetosphere when thrown from the sun with charged particles such as bird calls and insects buzzing; You can imagine that you are in a rainforest on a distant Earth-like planet:
"It's overwhelming that you have such fascinating (and confusing) audio Hogan added that the sheer volume of audio cataloged by BAS over the years was "just mind-blowing" for his team to work with
] If intergalactic exploration is not your thing There are other ways to enjoy these geomagnetic soundscapes. Meredith and Scarborough recently teamed up with composer Kim Cunio and dancer Becky Byers to create a multimedia show with Halley's sounds, which was performed in November at the BAS Aurora Innovation Center in Cambridge. Further appearances are planned for 2019.
You Can See Throughout the November performance below – or if you really feel like eradicating yourself, may I suggest looking at them in the background while watching John Carpenter's The Thing ?
& # 39; Sounds of Space & # 39; were delivered by scientists from the British Antarctic Survey.