How planet earth sounds from space – NASA recording

2 Oct 2012

The Earth as seen by the Apollo 17 crew travelling toward the Moon in 1972. Image via NASA

We know what planet Earth looks like from space, but can you hear it from space even though sound cannot travel through a vacuum? NASA has just released a rather eerie, out-of-this-world recording that captures an electromagnetic phenomenon called chorus, which happens as a result of plasma waves in the Earth’s radiation belts.

The recording was beamed back to Earth by NASA’s twin radiation belt storm probes that were launched into space in August.

The probes will be exploring two regions around Earth called the Van Allen Belts, where chorus comes from, for the next two years. That’s because researchers believe these two regions are filled with high-energy particles or ‘killer electrons’, caused by chorus, which may pose a risk to both satellites and astronauts.

It seems that amateur radio operators have been listening to this type of earthsong or chorus for years, but Craig Kletzing from the University of Iowa claims this recording is one of the clearest examples of the Earth’s chorus ever captured.

“This is what the radiation belts would sound like to a human being if we had radio antennas for ears,” he said in a NASA post.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic