We now know what a sunrise on Mars sounds like, thanks to a wonderful project undertaken by a very creative team from Anglia Ruskin University and the University of Exeter, both in the UK.
Months before NASA’s Opportunity rover went silent on the red planet, the now-stranded robot took a historic photograph of a Martian sunrise. Captured on camera in mid-February, this was the 5,000th sunrise witnessed by Opportunity since it first landed on Mars on January 25, 2004.
The snapshot of the landmark sunrise was analyzed by the British scientists, who used data sonification techniques to capture the sound of the rising sun and translate the image into a song, reports Phys.org.
Their efforts yielded a stirring piece of music titled “Mars Soundscapes,” which gives a new dimension to the Martian sunrise, echoing the ascension of the sun over the red alien landscape.
According to CNet, data sonification is the audio equivalent of data visualization. The technique works by scanning a visual image pixel by pixel — in this case, the Opportunity photo of the sunrise on Mars — and tracking changes in brightness, color, and terrain elevation data.
Each element identified in the snapshot was paired by the team with a specific pitch and melody via a series of algorithms. The resulting audio track is two minutes long and is absolutely breathtaking.
The incredible soundtrack of the Martian sunrise was released on YouTube earlier this week. Listen to the rising sun at the link below and prepare for an otherworldly sonic experience.
“The quiet, slow harmonies are a consequence of the dark background and the brighter, higher pitched sounds towards the middle of the piece are created by the sonification of the bright sun disk,” explained a news release from Anglia Ruskin University.
The “Mars Soundscapes” audio track will be premiered at the Supercomputer SC18 Conference in Dallas on 13 November.
“We are absolutely thrilled about presenting this work about such a fascinating planet,” said Dr. Domenico Vicinanza, who runs the Sound and Game Engineering (SAGE) research group at Anglia Ruskin. “Image sonification is a really flexible technique to explore science and it can be used in several domains, from studying certain characteristics of planet surfaces and atmospheres, to analyzing weather changes or detecting volcanic eruptions.”
As the Inquisitr previously reported, another artistic project featuring extraterrestrial sunrises was unveiled this summer ahead of NASA’s 60th anniversary. Unlike this particular creation, that project was a photomontage of stunning sunrises and sunsets on the moon — based on photos captured by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and set to the music of Claude Debussy’s “Clair de Lune.”