Saturn’s moving musical composition

The electromagnetic exchange between the sixth planet of the solar system, Saturn, and one of its many moons, captured in 2017 by the Cassini probe, was converted into a musical piece of 28.5 seconds thanks to a radiophonic process, resulting in what many are calling a extraterrestrial masterpiece.

Who said that the universe was silent? Though sound does not propagate in the interstellar void, it does not necessarily mean that there is nothing to listen to in the immensity of space. In our solar system, 1.350 million kilometers from the Earth, Saturn has been busy composing a song, although in the electromagnetic form. It’s not a Mozart or Beth oven, but it’s a piece is like no other.

Indeed, the sixth planet in the solar system can almost compete with the great classical composers. Under the effect of the energy produced by his faithful assistant, the moon Enceladus, Saturn generates plasma waves. This cosmic exchange was captured by the Cassini spacecraft in 2017. The American space agency has since been at work to convert this information into a human-audible sound, thanks to a process used by all radio stations. Electromagnetic waves emitted by a radio station (or by a satellite, in this case) are captured and translated into music.

The extract perceived by Cassini had to be considerably accelerated. The 16 minutes of the original recording were reduced to 28.5 seconds, allowing the 7 billion earthlings to hear with some emotion this sibilant melody.

Unfortunately, such “music” does not exist between the Earth and the Moon. Only the geological activity of Encelade allows this exceptional exchange. The probe, however, paid with its life this great triumphal symphony. Cassini recorded the “musical” data just before her “suicide” in the atmosphere of Saturn. A spatial requiem.

Eid Lee

Eid is a freelance journalist from California. He covers different topics for The Talking Democrat but focuses mostly on technology and science.