What does it sound like when a comet “sings” into a magnetic field? Or when you rotate a 600-ton deep space observation station? What if you could hear the radar echoes from a probe descending onto Saturn’s moon Titan?

Oh, yeah, and what’s the sound you hear that tells you the International Space Station is on fire and you should get into that docked Soyuz RFN?

Well, the European Space Agency has released those and more, from sonifying the inaudible to letting you hear the voices of the people who are leading some of the human race’s latest exploits into space.

And, by popular demand, they’re now released as Creative Commons-licensed materials. Not only that, but while the licenses are mixed (the ESA has content from a lot of different sources), but many are under a permissive Share Alike license. That means you can sample them, make music with them, and even use that music commercially, so long as you release your results under the same license for others to remix.


You should thank the European Space Agency for this – thank you, ESA! But you should also thank yourself. Because the attention you paid to articles like our previous story on NASA, and the chorus of people asking for freely-licensed materials, reached the ears of administrators. Now, some of this is still MP3 content, not lossless audio, but it actually sounds pretty good – these aren’t necessarily high-fidelity sources. (Some is in fact in WAV, too.)

That story was, without anything else coming close, the most popular story CDM has posted in its decade-plus history.
NASA Posts a Huge Library of Space Sounds, And You’re Free To Use Them

Check out the latest from the ESA – in cooperation with the USA, Russia, and spacefaring contributions from around the planet, they’re doing amazing things, both looking at outer space and our own planet.

So thanks, Earthlings. Now go make some music – because the vast majority of the universe is comparatively empty and, even generously, has terrible acoustics and not much going on musically speaking. Enjoy the bit of it where we can make some noise.

Glad we all get to share this tiny blue dot together. It’s an honor.

Photo, top, courtesy ESA. A 3D view of the Imhotep region on the large lobe of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. Source Copyright ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA. (Space people: their acronyms can kick your acronyms’ a**.)