Watch: history of exoplanet observations as generative music

NASA set the 5000 exoplanets so-far observed to music—music defined by the date of each discovery.

On March 21, 2022, the number of known exoplanets passed 5,000 according to the NASA Exoplanet Archive. This 360-degree animation and sonification tracks humanity's discovery of the planets beyond our solar system over time. Turning NASA data into sounds allows users to hear the pace of discovery with additional information conveyed by the notes themselves.

There are about 1500 exoplanets within the range of possible round-trip radio broadcasts—50 years or so each way—and nothing there was willing to return the call. The odds stack ever higher against the presence of nearby alien life with human-legible civilization, and ever in favor of there being other worlds our descendants might visit or live upon. Let's just hope that the superearth orbiting Pi Mensae didn't lob a light-speed nuke our way the second they got a load of World War I—it could arrive just in time for the midterms.

The delightful generative music reminded me of this from a few years ago. Someone at NASA loves this stuff!