[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/61821546″ iframe=”true” /]
What you are actually hearing in the above soundcloud clip are radio waves vibrating at acoustic frequencies. They are caused by plasma waves in an area called the Van Allen Radiation Belts. The radiation belts are two rings of such plasma held in place by our planet’s magnetic field. NASA scientists call it “Chorus”. However, if you were to ride a meteor past the Earth you wouldn’t be greeted by the Earth’s song, or at least you wouldn’t know it.
They recorded these sounds with their two Radiation Belt Storm Probes launched earlier this summer. The probes mission are to gather data on the rings. Right now they are measuring magnetic fields and listening to the plasma waves. They are the first to record chorus at such high a quality. Data from the mission could lend insight in to the working of the belts, and could lead to further development in space travel; the belts have a weird way of accelerating electrons to a point where they can be harmful to astronauts and satellites.
Whats next? Stereo recordings of course. Mono is dead. Because two Radiation Belt Storm Probes were sent up in August, NASA will be able to record at different locations to further study the nature of the belts and figure out where chorus begins and ends. While it may not get any spins on your local top 40 station, this recording truly is an amazing capture of the nature of the planet we inhabit (and more authentic than what you find on a top 40 station), so take a second to enjoy the sounds of your Earth.