Giant Leaps – Apollo Program Data Sonification (NASA)

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first Moon landing, SYSTEM Sounds worked with NASA to convey the history of the Apollo mission’s influence through sound. In this piece, the note pitches indicate the amount of scientific activity associated with Apollo and with NASA’s subsequent missions to explore the moon. Higher pitches indicate greater numbers of articles, citations, and patents associated with certain keywords. This data used is plotted over time.

The string instruments and pulsing electric piano represent activity related to the words ‘Apollo’ (blue), ‘Apollo Samples’ (red), and ‘Apollo Images’ (yellow). Brass instruments represent the later lunar missions (Clementine, Lunar Prospector, Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, ARTEMIS, GRAIL, LADEE). The passage of time is indicated by percussion instruments: Clock ticks = months Snare drums = years Bass drums = decades Cymbals crashes = rocket launches (and the start of the ARTEMIS mission) This was featured as part of the NASA Explorers: Apollo audio series: