Scientists translate Mars sunrise images into soundtrack by using unique technique

Mars global mosaic shot by the MCC
Mars global mosaic shot by the MCC ISRO

Researchers from Anglia Ruskin University and the University of Exeter in UK have created a two-minute long soundtrack by translating 5,000th sunrise images on Mars into music.

This unique soundtrack was created by scanning a picture pixel by pixel from left to right and looking at the colour information, including the brightness and combining them with terrain elevation.

They used computer algorithms to assign each element a specific pitch and melody to translate the photograph into music. This technique is called "data sonification."

At Anglia Ruskin, Director of the Sound and Game Engineering (SAGE) research group, Domenico Vicinanza said, "We are absolutely thrilled about presenting this work about such a fascinating planet."

"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 analysing weather changes or detecting volcanic eruptions," he further added.

The slow harmonies are the result of the dark background and the brighter, while the higher pitched sounds towards the middle of the soundtrack are created by the sonification of the bright sun disk.

As per the team the technique can be used in the medical sector to provide scientists with new methods to analyse the appearance of some shapes and colours and that is useful in image diagnostics.

The musical piece, entitled Mars Soundscapes will be presented by Vicinanza along with Genevieve Williams from the University of Exeter in NASA booth at the forthcoming Supercomputing SC18 Conference which will take place in Dallas.

During the presentation, both conventional speakers and vibrational transducers will be used so that the audience could feel the vibrations with their hands.

These pictures were taken by NASA's Opportunity rover which is a robotic rover that has been providing photographic data from Mars since 2004. In early 2018, scientists were quite concerned about this rover, as it ceased communications due to a dust storm on the red planet. But the scientists are hopeful and believe that Opportunity rover may resume its function later this year.

This article was first published on November 11, 2018
Related topics : Nasa