NASA recently helped launch the net radio channel Third Rock Radio, playing questionable to good rock n’ roll along with NASA news updates.
But Rich Rarey of NPR Labs pointed out (on Pubradio) there’s already a fine NASA-centric, space music channel on SofaFM called Mission Control, “Celebrating NASA and Space Explorers everywhere.”
The feed is full of ambient music well-mixed with astronaut transmissions from space and conversations with Earth. Warning: the real-time reality feel and ambi/astro synchronicity is a bit addicting. Suggest you sample their 128K stream; other bitrates and a popup player are also available.
Sez Mission Control DJ (& SomaFM co-founder) Rusty Hodge :
A while back, on a whim I decided to mix in live audio from a Space Shuttle launch with our Space Station Soma music. I got a lot of great feedback on it, and did it again for the next launch.
I’ve always been fascinated by space exploration, since I was a very young kid watching the Moon landing on a 9″ black and white TV. So when NASA celebrated the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11 by rebroadcasting the mission audio in real time, but 40 years delayed in July of 2009, I knew that SomaFM had to add a soundtrack to it. That’s how our Mission Control channel started.
Now whenever the Space Shuttle is up, I mix in the real-time audio feed from NASA with ambient music. When it’s not up, we mix in historical recordings of he Apollo missions. I hope you like it as much as I do!
In the early 1960’s, the United States was losing the Space Race. The first satellite in was the USSR’s Sputnik, 1957. The first human in space was Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, April 1961. The next month President JFK made a Special Address to the US Congress (2:10), that started the program which landed us on the moon eight years later.
“President John Kennedy’s Special Message to the Congress on Urgent National Needs, May 25, 1961”
“Zero G, and I Feel Fine” (6:01) transmissions are from the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo missions, with music by Jeff Artnsen of Racket Ship.
A women dreams of a visitor from the “Third Planet” (2:14) by Bisophere.
The “Last Man on the Moon” (2:41) are Apollo 17 astronauts Ronald Evans, Eugene Cernan, and Harrison Schmitt. They left the lunar surface December 1972. No one’s been back since. The music was by Jeff Arntsen.
A President has a distorted phone conversation with an underwater spaceman in “LBJ & the Helium Filled Astronaut” (7:21). Commander Scott Carpenter spent thirty days in the ocean at a depth of 200 feet as part of the Navy’s SeaLab project. This 1964 tape of helium speech comes to us from Larry Massett and Lost and Found Sound. More…
Radio stories about radio, then stories about radio stories:
“Dueling XMTRs! #3: VOIRI vs. the World” (2003 / 1:01 excerpt) ShortWaveMusic
These “Dueling Transmitters” are an atmospheric found-sound un-manipulated mix of Spanish ham-radio operators, slow Morse code, data squalls, and the Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran. From the Shortwavemusic blog post “The Effects of Radiation.”
An FM radio station in Uruguay’s capital, Montevideo, is called Urbana. It’s hip, bilingual, plays music from all over the world, and is famous in Uruguay for its 30-second sound portraits featuring the voices of famous people mixed over avante-garde music.
Made up of coral reefs that surrounded the flanks of a volcano that has since become inactive and submerged. Like many tropical atolls, Atafu is very low lying and vulnerable to sea-level rise. This photograph was taken by astronauts aboard the International Space Station in January.
Galapagos Islands, Pacific Ocean
…are the tops of volcanoes on the sea floor off the coast of South America along the equator. This image was taken by the Landsat 7 satellite in 2001.
Drove 1100-miles in 19 hours last Wednesday — MT to NoCal — to be with fam for Thanksgiving. Pubradio kept me company the whole way (‘sides some signal-less spots in ID mtns and NV desert, filled with Joe Frank and TAL podcasts.)
Near NV/CA’s border heading east on I-90, when you crest Donner Pass, a pubradio feast commences. My presets fill up fast. From SF there’s KQED, NPR’s most listened-to station, and Pacifica’s KPFA, home to Negativland’s Over the Edge. One of college radio’s freeform finest is KDVS at U of CA-Davis. And community station KVMR-Nevada City CA manages to be hyperlocal yet always entertaining to this outta-towner.
While speeding downhill thru the Sierras, I caught KVMR’s eve news. It ended with a discussion about oak trees: one scientist/radio-announcer/educator talking to another scientist/author. I felt privileged to listen into their conversation. Their tree talk wasn’t dull or dumbed-down; it was comprehensible and comprehensive. An unexpected, imaginative use of radio, doncha think?:
How strange is the lot of us mortals! Each of us is here for a brief sojourn; for what purpose he knows not, though he sometimes thinks he senses it. But without deeper reflection one knows from daily life that one exists for other people — first of all for those upon whose smiles and well-being our own happiness is wholly dependent, and then for the many, unknown to us, to whose destinies we are bound by the ties of sympathy. A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving…
—Albert Einstein, “Mein Weltbild” (“My World-view” 1931)
More from his essay: “The World as I See It“
The blue arc of Earth, photographed by the European Space Agency- Rosetta spacecraft:
ESA’s photo data:
Image of the Earth acquired with the OSIRIS narrow-angle camera from a distance of 633 000 km on 12 November 2009 at 13:28 CET. The resolution is 12 km/pixel. The image is a part of a sequence of images taken every hour through one full rotation (24 hours). The movie will be published later.
Sophie Rouys is a conservation biologist and heads up the Kagu Recovery Plan for New Caledonia; she recorded some really close up calls one morning in the park at Riviere Bleue. They call, usually in groups, for anywhere between 5 minutes and an hour at dawn. They’re pretty silent the rest of the time, except for clucking sounds when male and female switch off at the nest and the occasional display.
Global water and air volume: Conceptual computer artwork of the total volume of water on Earth (left) and of air in the Earth’s atmosphere (right) shown as spheres (blue and pink). The spheres show how finite water and air supplies are. The water sphere measures 1390 kilometres across and has a volume of 1.4 billion cubic kilometres. This includes all the water in the oceans, seas, ice caps, lakes and rivers as well as ground water, and that in the atmosphere. The air sphere measures 1999 kilometres across and weighs 5140 trillion tonnes. As the atmosphere extends from Earth it becomes less dense. Half of the air lies within the first 5 kilometres of the atmosphere. Image by Dr Adam Nieman.
Collin Cunningham of Make Magazine sonically induces some strange behaviors in puddles of water and a non-newtonian fluid. The rippling waves in his DIY cymatic (study of visible sound and vibration) experiments are kewl. But do stay tuned for the wild cornstarch rave, and the recipe for creating your own “pet cymatic blob.”
Lang Elliot soaks up the sounds of “Sora Dawn” — “a pothole marsh at dawn with bittern, wrens, rails, and more (Prairie Spring).
Dr. Rex Cocroft, of the University of Missouri, attaches a phonograph needle to a blade of grass, plugged it into a tape recorder, to go “acoustic prospecting” for little-known suburban lawn sounds like “Leafhoppers,” rarely hard by humans.