September 3rd, 2009 – moonbell is an online music creation application released by JAXA, Japan’s version of NASA. Using geographical information from the Kaguya explorer satellite, the “orbit” or musical path you choose over the surface of the moon dictates specific musical tones. You can change the available scales, the instrument of each voice (although the choices are limited), and tempo.
There are two modes you can choose from. One allows you to choose an orbit, and sounds are generated based upon the topography directly under the satellite. The other allows you to “free scratch” meaning you can draw on the moon in whatever flight path you wish, and moonbell will play it. It’s a cool way to kill your coffee break. I’m just interested in who decided to put music and moon topography together into an application at JAXA. Cool idea!