The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, better known as NASA, is the U.S. government agency responsible for the civilian space program as well as aeronautics and aerospace research.
One of the most ambitious projects of the famous space agency is HARP, it is being closely monitored by some scientists and weather and climate researchers.
The project consists of 180 antennas that work together and emit 1 GW = 1,000,000,000 W, i.e., one trillion high frequency radio waves that penetrate the lower atmosphere and are reflected by aural electrojets for the purpose of translating spatial noise. interact with the present. Data used by scientists.
According to NASA, the magnetic environment around Earth is full of a symphony of sounds that we can’t hear. On our planet, ultra-low frequency waves create a cacophonous operetta that portrays the dramatic relationship between Earth and the Sun.
HARP or the Audited Heliophysics Project has transformed waves inaudible to humans into sounds, whispers and crackles.
“What excites me most about the HARP project is the ability for citizen scientists to make new discoveries in heliophysics research through audio analysis. “We need your help to understand the complex patterns in the near-Earth space environment,” said project principal investigator Michael Hartinger, a heliophysicist at the Colorado Space Science Institute.
The space between Earth and the Sun is filled with particles called plasma, which is material derived from our solar system’s stars.
The plasma generates a continuous stream called the solar wind which is sporadically expelled by solar flares. When this solar plasma hits Earth, it causes the magnetic field lines and plasma around Earth to vibrate like the broken strings of a harp, producing ultra-low frequency waves that are barely detected. Is.
This audio data has been obtained thanks to the 2007 THEMIS (Time History of Macroscale Events and Interactions during Substorms) mission, when NASA launched five satellites to fly through Earth’s magnetic “harp”, its magnetosphere. .
“THEMIS can test the entire harp and has been available for a long time, so it has collected a lot of data,” Hartinger said.
As mentioned, these waves produce frequencies inaudible to the human ear, so the HARP team converted them into sound waves by accelerating them.
“The process of identifying new features through deep listening is somewhat like a treasure hunt,” said Robert Alexander, a HARP team member at Aurilab Technologies in Michigan.
HARP was inspired by an earlier sonification project led by Archer called MUSIC (Magnetospheric Sonified Ripples Incorporating Citizen Scientists).
When Archer asked high school students in London to listen to data from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) satellites, they identified a new plasma wave pattern related to solar storms. “London high school students were able to pick out a complex, but repeatable pattern in sound that automated methods missed,” Hartinger said.
The success of this project lies in the fact that, due to having a wide audience, if a sound is not noticed by one or more people, it can be picked up by another. “We want people to discover things we never thought about, or that computer algorithms wouldn’t be able to figure out. “This is how discoveries are made!” Says Emmanuel Massongsong of the University of California, Los Angeles, a member of the HARP team and NASA’s THEMIS mission.
“Data sonification gives humans the opportunity to appreciate the natural music of the universe. We hear sounds that are literally out of this world, and for me it’s the closest we get to swimming in a space suit,” Alexander concluded.
To start exploring these sounds, visit the HARP website.
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