A few years ago, ESA landed a probe on comet 67P as part of its Rosetta mission. Rosetta is the one featuring project scientist Dr. Matt Taylor, who the metal press noted is a death metal and grindcore fan.
The mission continues to pay dividends. ESA posted on Instagram yesterday that the comet “seems to be emitting a ‘song’ in the form of oscillations in the magnetic field in the comet’s environment.” There’s more technical detail in the post below, but what’s just as engaging is ESA’s call to action:
“Remix the sound of this reel and tag us in your own reels so we can see your creative takes on this alien sound.”
Here’s the post with the audio:
View this post on Instagram
What can you do with the song of a comet? ☄️ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 67P, the comet studied by our Rosetta mission seems to be emitting a ‘song’ in the form of oscillations in the magnetic field in the comet’s environment. It is being sung at 40-50 millihertz, far below human hearing, which typically picks up sound between 20 Hz and 20 kHz. To make the music audible to the human ear, the frequencies have been increased by a factor of about 10,000. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The music was heard clearly by the magnetometer experiment for the first time in August 2014, when Rosetta drew to within 100 km of 67P/C-G. The scientists think it must be produced in some way by the activity of the comet, as it releases neutral particles into space where they become electrically charged due to a process called ionisation. But the precise physical mechanism behind the oscillations remains a mystery. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Remix the sound of this reel and tag us in your own reels so we can see your creative takes on this alien sound. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 📹@EuropeanSpaceAgency / @rosettamission / MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA 🎶 TU Braunschweig/IGEP/Manuel Senfft, @creativecommons CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0 ⠀⠀⠀⠀
So, who’s accepting the challenge?
Check out more coverage on the intersection of science and music here at the blog.