Listen to 50 Years of Lunar Exploration
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first Moon landing, NASA asked us 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.
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)