Neptune and Triton 3 days after Voyager flyby. Triton is smaller crescent and is closer to viewer. Image: NASA

Voyager (2016)

In 1992 five hours of audio recordings from space were released by NASA in the form of 5 CDs with the title ”Symphonies of the Planets”. No composer was mentioned on this release, implying that the composers were the planets themselves! It is common knowledge that there is no sound in the vacuum of space, since there is no air or other medium to transport sound waves. But electromagnetic waves can travel through space and these waves can be easily transformed into sound. A well known example is radio waves, which cannot be heard but kan be ”translated” into sound by a radio receiver.

The five hours of recordings released by NASA originated from two space probes: Voyager 1 and Voyager 2, both launched in 1977 on a mission to pass Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune before heading out of our solar system. These two probes recorded images of these planets and their moons and conducted a number of scientific measurements including recording various energy emissions from the planets. Some of these recordings were then ”translated” into sound and released on the 5 CDs.

The piece ”Voyager” uses these recordings in a reworked and combined form. The recordings used include data recordings of the magnetospheres of Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune and Uranus as well as recordings of partical emmissions from the rings of Saturn and Uranus. ”Voyager” was first performed by Wayne Siegel on the 12-channel sound system at the Black Diamond in Copenhagen as a live mix.


Listen to an 8-minute stereo mix version of Voyager (2016)