The Space Composer
I am not someone who has a background in science. While it always intrigued me, it was not something that ever came innately. Working at Motherboard has helped me redefine the somewhat nebulous notion of science and what application it has in real life. As we started planning the second season of our Spaced Out series, it seemed important that we look to feature non-scientists thinking about the future of space.
Enter Robert Alexander, a classically trained composer who has always been fascinated with the sky. As Robert was thinking about his thesis he determined that he was interested in the practice of sonification. For those of you who are unfamiliar, sonification is defined simply as is the process of displaying data in an audio format (other than traditional speech). Robert was interested in listening to data and garnering what he and the world can learn from it. We go into it deeper in the piece, but I thought of it as such a novel idea. One thinks that most problems have a linear solution, but that is not the world we live in. There can and always will be another and maybe more creative way of finding the solution.
At Wallaman Falls, between Townsville and Cairns, in north Queensland, the Full Moon enlightens the landscape and its light, combined with the water of the fall, creates a Moonbow. A bright shooting star crosses the Milky Way during the exposure.
Thierry Legault is not your average amateur astronomer, inviting the kids over and pointing a dinky backyard telescope at the Big Dipper. He’s a renowned astrophotographer, painstakingly chronicling the orbits of planets, distant galaxies, spaceships, and—to the chagrin of the intelligence community—of the spy satellites we’re not supposed to see.
These days, we are inundated with a constant feed of reality defying images sent back to us from space by the very carefully calibrated equipment we send up there. But for Thierry, the act of capturing space is a much more personal process. It’s man versus nature.