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
Most of us have experienced this frustrating situation: Nature is calling, so you rush to the nearest restroom, only to find that it’s sporting an “Out of Order” sign. Annoying, right?
Well, at least you weren’t hurtling through space at the time, hundreds of miles from the nearest plumber. Apparently, the toilet on the International Space Station has broken down, leaving the 13 crew members onboard with just a backup loo, and the crew of the shuttle Endeavour using the W.C. on that spacecraft.
According to BBC:
Mission Control told the crew to hang an “out of service” sign until the toilet can be fixed….
If repairs fail, Apollo-era urine collection bags are on hand, Nasa said. “We don’t yet know the extent of the problem,” flight director Brian Smith told reporters, adding that the toilet troubles were “not going to be an issue” for now.
The main toilet, a multi-million-dollar Russian-built unit, was flown up and installed on the US side of the space station last year. It had broken down once before, requiring a rush delivery of a replacement pump by the shuttle Discovery in 2008.
Another toilet-related problem arose earlier this year. That one was due to regulations that hold that Russian crew members on the ISS cannot use the American toilet.
In any case, let’s hope NASA gets the W.C. situation figured out soon. After all, it’s pretty hard to pull over for a pit stop 220 miles from Earth.
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Image: Wikimedia Commons