From Lightning on Jupiter to Apollo 13’s Call for Help, Hear Some of NASA’s Greatest Recordings

An audio archive captures some iconic moments of space history


Sputnik 1 was too small to see. But its persistent, unwavering beep...beep...beep...beep...beep...was picked up by ham radio operators and nervous governments across the planet: the beachball-sized Soviet satellite had sparked the beginning of the space age.

Like the beep of Sputnik 1, JFK's space race speech and the roar of an Atlas V rocket, some of the most iconic moments in space history are known not for their imagery but for their sounds. 

That's one small step for man. One giant leap for man kind.”

 “The Eagle has landed.” 

Houston, we've had a problem.” 

On its new Soundcloud page, NASA has collected the recordings of these and other notable moments, a sound archive of some of space history's greatest hits.

Aside from the human drama of the early space race, the page houses recordings notable not necessarily for how they sound, but for what they represent. Take, for instance, this recording, capturing the sound of electromagnetic waves known as “chorus waves”.

Or listen to these recordings of lightning on Jupiter and of the dust from Comet Tempel 1 hitting the Stardust spacecraft. Those are the sounds of humanity pushing to the edge of our capabilities. 

Like most of NASA's creations, the sound recordings uploaded to their Soundcloud page are free to do with what you will. Just, maybe, think long and hard before you sample NASA's clips for your next album.

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