For Halloween, forget watching badly edited videos of “ghosts” or possession on YouTube, or listening to mediums putting on a husky voice and pretending to channel the spirit of your dead aunt’s dog. NASA has released something that’s much, much better. It turns out that there’s nothing more horrifying than the sounds of our own Solar System.
The space agency has released a spooky space sounds playlist on Soundcloud just in time for Halloween, with tracks including “howling planets” and “whistling helium” that NASA promises will “make your skin crawl”.
“Soaring to the depths of our universe, gallant spacecraft roam the cosmos, snapping images of celestial wonders. Some spacecraft have instruments capable of capturing radio emissions,” NASA explained on Soundcloud. “When scientists convert these to sound waves, the results are eerie to hear.”
They aren’t lying. Take a listen to yourself, and see if you can make it past Plasmeric Hiss, recorded by NASA’s Polar mission as it passed around the Earth.
The 22 tracks include classics such as Cassini Shields Up, a particularly creepy track that was taken by Cassini before it settled into its orbit around Saturn, as it traveled through the plane of Saturn’s rings. NASA describes the audio conversion as an “interstellar cacophony reminiscent of a hellstorm on Earth”, largely because that’s exactly what it sounds like, only a little more terrifying.
Particularly unsettling is Radar Echoes From Titan’s Surface. This recording was made by converting radio echoes received by the Huygens spacecraft as it plunged into Saturn’s moon Titan. It begins like a slow heartbeat as the echoes bounce back to Huygens, before speeding up as the probe plunges towards Titan. It gets more and more intense, like a heartbeat speeding up, before turning into some classic ’70s-style horror synth music as the probe gets closer and closer to its final crash onto the moon’s surface.
Scientists at NASA will use the intensity of the echoes to learn about the nature of the surface. All you’ll get from it is a horrific chill down your spine.
And then, a lot closer to home, there’s the plasmeric hiss track, possibly the creepiest track of them all. This recording is of the plasmasphere of Earth, the region of Earth’s magnetosphere beyond the ionosphere that consists of low energy plasma (ionized gas). When converted into sound, however, you could be forgiven for thinking it was recorded in the very depths of hell.
So here’s your soundtrack for the night. Happy Halloween, space fans.