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Bach on other planets or why acoustic sensors make sense in planetary science

Bach on other planets or why acoustic sensors make sense in planetary science
Bach on other planets or why acoustic sensors make sense in planetary science
The European Huygens probe, which landed on Titan in 2005, is the only planetary probe so far to incorporate passive and active acoustic sensing. Acoustic wave motion is intimately coupled with an atmosphere and thus can give first-hand information on that environment. Motivation for acoustic sensing in planetary atmospheres abounds: anemometry, turbulence measurements, soil characterization, sound generation by lightning, acoustics of liquid hydrocarbon flows, cryovolcanoes, dust devils, quantitative fluid spectroscopy, thermometry, atmospheric boundary layers etc. In this paper it is shown quantitatively how the environments of Mars, Venus, and Titan affect the generation and propagation of audible sound differently. To exemplify, a musical fragment with a rich frequency content was chosen (Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D-minor played by one of the authors) and passed through the three planetary ''filters.'' Appreciation of the nature of these sounds will inform the design of acoustic sensors for future space probes. Furthermore, a demonstration that the physics is sufficiently understood to predict these sounds indicates that the same understanding can be applied quantitatively to interpret alien sounds to estimate the environmental conditions. ©2008 Acoustical Society of America
0001-4966
3400
Petculescu, Andy
d64180a7-dc12-4706-a8eb-fa82b9d8c885
Leighton, Timothy G.
3e5262ce-1d7d-42eb-b013-fcc5c286bbae
Petculescu, Andy
d64180a7-dc12-4706-a8eb-fa82b9d8c885
Leighton, Timothy G.
3e5262ce-1d7d-42eb-b013-fcc5c286bbae

Petculescu, Andy and Leighton, Timothy G. (2008) Bach on other planets or why acoustic sensors make sense in planetary science. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 123 (5), 3400. (doi:10.1121/1.2934095).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The European Huygens probe, which landed on Titan in 2005, is the only planetary probe so far to incorporate passive and active acoustic sensing. Acoustic wave motion is intimately coupled with an atmosphere and thus can give first-hand information on that environment. Motivation for acoustic sensing in planetary atmospheres abounds: anemometry, turbulence measurements, soil characterization, sound generation by lightning, acoustics of liquid hydrocarbon flows, cryovolcanoes, dust devils, quantitative fluid spectroscopy, thermometry, atmospheric boundary layers etc. In this paper it is shown quantitatively how the environments of Mars, Venus, and Titan affect the generation and propagation of audible sound differently. To exemplify, a musical fragment with a rich frequency content was chosen (Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D-minor played by one of the authors) and passed through the three planetary ''filters.'' Appreciation of the nature of these sounds will inform the design of acoustic sensors for future space probes. Furthermore, a demonstration that the physics is sufficiently understood to predict these sounds indicates that the same understanding can be applied quantitatively to interpret alien sounds to estimate the environmental conditions. ©2008 Acoustical Society of America

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Published date: May 2008

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 57846
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/57846
ISSN: 0001-4966
PURE UUID: 7e893e39-b08a-4c70-97cb-a61640feccd3
ORCID for Timothy G. Leighton: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-1649-8750

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Date deposited: 20 Aug 2008
Last modified: 14 Mar 2019 01:53

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