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'Listen' to Satellites Whiz Around Earth With NASA's Orbit Pavilion

bevy of satellites hurtle high above the Earth, collecting data about the planet’s atmosphere, biosphere, and oceans—an important process that goes mostly unnoticed by land-dwellers below.

We may be able to see some satellites passing in the night sky, but we're still mostly oblivious to the work they do. So NASA wanted us to experience them in other ways. According to WIRED, they hired Brooklyn-based architecture studio StudioKCA to create the NASA Orbit Pavilion, a seashell-shaped aluminum structure that tracks the International Space Station and 19 individual satellites via sound.

Visitors walk into the enclosure and are surrounded by a variety of soothing noises—chirping crickets, crashing waves, swaying tree branches, etc.—that move from one side of the room to the other via a network of speakers. The movement of the sound corresponds to an individual satellite’s movement, allowing you to trace the craft’s journey as it whizzes across the sky.

The presentation lasts for five minutes—far shorter than satellites’ actual orbital periods. Also, keep in mind that satellites don’t actually make these noises in real life. Bottom line? The Orbit Pavilion is intended to be more representational than literal. Still, it does a good job of letting ordinary people experience something of the satellites' extraterrestrial whirl without having to blast off in a rocket.

Right now, the Orbit Pavilion is at the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, California. This summer, you'll be able to find it in the Huntington Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California. For more information on the space-inspired installation piece, watch the above video courtesy of Bedford + Bowery, a hyperlocal web collaboration between New York magazine and New York University. 

All images courtesy of Vimeo

[h/t WIRED]

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By Ben Wittick (1845–1903) - Brian Lebel's Old West Show and Auction, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons
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Photo of Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett, Purchased for $10, Could Be Worth Millions
By Ben Wittick (1845–1903) - Brian Lebel's Old West Show and Auction, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons
By Ben Wittick (1845–1903) - Brian Lebel's Old West Show and Auction, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Several years ago, Randy Guijarro paid $2 for a few old photographs he found in an antiques shop in Fresno, California. In 2015, it was determined that one of those photos—said to be the second verified picture ever found of Billy the Kid—could fetch the lucky thrifter as much as $5 million. That story now sounds familiar to Frank Abrams, a lawyer from North Carolina who purchased his own photo of the legendary outlaw at a flea market in 2011. It turns out that the tintype, which he paid $10 for, is thought to be an image of Billy and Pat Garrett (the sheriff who would eventually kill him) taken in 1880. Like Guijarro’s find, experts say Abrams’s photo could be worth millions.

The discovery is as much a surprise to Abrams as anyone. As The New York Times reports, what drew Abrams to the photo was the fact that it was a tintype, a metal photographic image that was popular in the Wild West. Abrams didn’t recognize any of the men in the image, but he liked it and hung it on a wall in his home, which is where it was when an Airbnb guest joked that it might be a photo of Jesse James. He wasn’t too far off.

Using Google as his main research tool, Abrams attempted to find out if there was any famous face in that photo, and quickly realized that it was Pat Garrett. According to The New York Times:

Then, Mr. Abrams began to wonder about the man in the back with the prominent Adam’s apple. He eventually showed the tintype to Robert Stahl, a retired professor at Arizona State University and an expert on Billy the Kid.

Mr. Stahl encouraged Mr. Abrams to show the image to experts.

William Dunniway, a tintype expert, said the photograph was almost certainly taken between 1875 and 1880. “Everything matches: the plate, the clothing, the firearm,” he said in a phone interview. Mr. Dunniway worked with a forensics expert, Kent Gibson, to conclude that Billy the Kid and Mr. Garrett were indeed pictured.

Abrams, who is a criminal defense lawyer, described the process of investigating the history of the photo as akin to “taking on the biggest case you could ever imagine.” And while he’s thrilled that his epic flea market find could produce a major monetary windfall, don’t expect to see the image hitting the auction block any time soon. 

"Other people, they want to speculate from here to kingdom come,” Abrams told The New York Times of how much the photo, which he has not yet had valuated, might be worth. “I don’t know what it’s worth. I love history. It’s a privilege to have something like this.”

[h/t: The New York Times]

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