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Huygens descending onto Titan

What does it sound like to descend through the atmosphere of an alien moon? This recording from the European Space Agency has the answer – a laboratory reconstruction of the sounds heard by microphones on the Huygens satellite.

Several sound samples, taken at different times during the descent, are here combined together and give a realistic reproduction of what a traveller on board Huygens would have heard during one minute of the descent through Titan’s atmosphere.

Audio data was collected by the Huygens Atmospheric Structure Instrument (HASI), which includes an acoustic sensor, during Huygens’ descent, 14 January 2005.

City version:

Roberta Fidora created this excellent reimagined sound from the original Huygens material. She writes of her piece:

“‘Huygens’ is named after the Dutch astronomer and physicist Christiaan Huygens.

“It is perhaps an interesting juxtaposition to hear the chaotic sonic discoveries captured by a craft named in honour of his studies around Saturn and its moon Titan, rhythmically tethered to the Earthly time constraints of his most famous invention: the pendulum clock.

“A jittery signal of alien weather condition, gated, processed and remapped to conform to the system of measurement by which we try to organise our journeys across the universe.”

Memory version: