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Local group building satellite to capture sounds of space

9:49 AM, Aug 26, 2011   |    comments
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  • Sampling Space project founder Dan Reus
  • Arch Reactor
    
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  • Sampling Space project
  • Sampling Space Kickstarter page
  • Arch Reactor
  • By Kasey Joyce

    St. Louis, MO (KSDK) - You don't have to be a rocket scientist or work for NASA to build a satellite and send it into orbit. A St. Louis group is building its own, hoping to find out what space sounds like.

    The sound of space? Sound impossible?

    "Space doesn't make any sound," Sampling Space project founder Dan Reus said. "That's true."

    But that hasn't stopped Reus and his team at Arch Reactor. They've designed a small satellite with light sensors on the outside that will collect data as the satellite moves in and out of light, over water and weather on earth and through space. That data corresponds to sounds.

    "As it tumbles in and out of sunlight it will go, 'womp womp womp,' Reus said.

    Those sounds will be beamed back to Earth and uploaded on a website, free for anyone to use.

    "People have tried collecting sounds from space before, but this is the first community wide project to do something like this," Reus said.

    In the absence of NASA, small space projects like this are popping up worldwide.

    "NASA funded everything for a long time, now they're not," Reus said. "So other people are finding ways to do it, and enabling people like us to do this."

    The team behind the project is all part-timers. They have other jobs, but they were passionate about this project. They have designed and planned the project. They've also started a fundraising website on Kickstarter.com to pay for it. People from around the world have joined in online to support the Sampling Sounds project. At Arch Reactor, they're hard at work making it a reality.

    "We all jumped on it," said Arch Reactor Vice President Derek Sigler. "We have 5-6 people involved in building the computer behind the satellite."

    So if all goes as planned, in a couple of months that coffee cup shaped satellite will be ready for lift off. It will spend about two to three months in orbit and eventually fall back towards Earth, where it will be destroyed upon reentry. It's something Reus says he never imagined he could do. And now, he hopes this project will inspire others to follow his lead.

    "We'll inspire people that have never thought about space," Reus said. "There are (sic) all this stuff about space that we don't know that we'll get to find out through this project."

    You can become a part of the Sampling Sounds team. Just visit their Kickstarter page or the project's website. The group meets at Arch Reactor at 2400 Jefferson every Tuesday night. For more information about Arch Reactor, visit the group's website.

    KSDK

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