The moon has a bumpy, pitted surface; in fact, it’s vaguely similar to the ridges of an old-fashioned vinyl record. So why not use the moon to make some melodies?
Now you can, thanks to a new program called Moonbell, which is available online for free. Moonbell gives you the chance to do create music by using topographical data to determine how the pitch rises and falls, and the program can produce the sounds of 138 instruments.
The software works by interpreting information provided by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Kaguya satellite, which used a laser altimeter to generate detailed maps of the Moon until its planned crash in June this year.
The music produced by Moonbell synthesises three types of topographical data. The melody is generated by the actual ups and downs in the Moon’s surface, while the “mid tones” are related to the elevation of the immediately surrounding area and the bass line is determined by an even broader section of elevation.
Info sent to Earth from the Kaguya satellite was also used in 2007 for Google Earth’s 3D Moon option.
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Image: flickr / jurvetson