Friday, May 23, 2008

Can you play 'the Moon?'

One-Quarter Actual Size

Now this is imaginative. The Kaguya Lunar Orbiter ground controllers have put together "The Moonbell," a Java Applet using laser altimeter data and an orbital cross-section to create a random tone generator, playing the moon like a phonograph record, you might say.

Useful? Yes, I suppose it could be. And yet I wouldn't be the first to evoke Benjamin Franklin's answer to a wag's question of what use the channeling of lightning might be, to those who might still ask "what use" exploring the Moon "might be?"

Franklin laughed, "what is the use of a newborn child?"