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Sónar transmitting music to outer space to celebrate 25th anniversary

Barcelona festival Sónar turns 25 in 2018, and its celebrations include an interstellar music broadcast directed at GJ 237b, a planet orbiting a star that’s 12.4 light-years from Earth.

Sónar Calling GJ 237b is billed as the first-ever attempt at communication with a potentially habitable exoplanet (a planet in orbit around a star outside our solar system). GJ 237b, also known as Luyten’s Star b, was chosen because of the possibility of receiving an answer back on Earth in 25 years. The key parts of the project are two series of transmissions sent from the European Incoherent Scatter Scientific Association (EISCAT) antenna facilities near Tromsø, Norway: the first was completed last month, and the second is scheduled for April of next year. The festival itself, with this project as a core theme, will run from June 14th through the 16th.

There are 33 artists contributing specially-composed pieces of music to Sónar Calling GJ 237b, including Autechre, Carsten Nicolai (AKA Alva Noto), Nina Kraviz, Kerri Chandler, Matmos, Laurent Garnier, Fatima Al Qadiri, Soichi Terada and Kate Tempest. Sónar is also calling for participation from the public, and at least three user-submitted pieces will be added to the April broadcast.

The festival’s partners for this undertaking are the Institute for Space Studies of Catalonia (IEEC) and METI International.

Learn more at the Sónar Calling GJ 237b website.

The first names for Sónar Festival 2018 will be announced at a later date.