The Rosetta spacecraft and its Philae lander (or as we like to call it, the Philae-landerer) have a lot to reveal to scientists after its landing on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. It can tell them what it’s composed of and even what it smells like.
But today, we got to hear what the comet sounds like.
The day before Philae made it’s historic landing on the surface of the comet, The European Space Agency released an audio clip of the comet “singing.” And as you can imagine, it sounds pretty creepy.
The folks over at IFLS described the sound perfectly, saying it “sounds a lot like Predator, the alien that tried to kill Arnold Schwarzenegger.”
Of course, sound waves can’t travel through space, so it isn’t a direct audio recording. Instead, Rosetta’s Plasma Consortium (RPC) picked up variations in the magnetic field around the comet, due to interactions between 67P/C-G’s coma and the plasma from the Sun, better known as solar wind. These variations resulted in frequencies between 40 to 50 millihertz, about 10,000 times lower than can be detected by humans. ESA scientists altered the frequency of the comet’s song into human hearing range, and discovered it was a series of clicks that are very reminiscent of Predator’s growl.
Here’s some additional audio just for a point of reference: