The Engine Institute is proud to announce that through a NASA/RI Space grant we have been successful in being the first to discover the sounds of Saturns’ rings. This interdisciplinary work was done in conjunction with the help of Seth Horowitz a Neuroscientist, NASA consultant and the author of “The Universal Sense: How Hearing Shapes the Mind”. Seth is interested in how sound is processed by the brain. This discovery resulted in an art/science CD produced by The Engine Institute titled: “Cassini’s Dreams.”

CassinisDreamsCDBabyV3Cassini’s Dreams” brings to life some fascinating unheard aspects of Saturn’s rings. Since Galileo’s first tenuous observations in 1610 and the Saturn system has remained a source of intrigue for centuries. To this day Saturn is still one of the solar systems prime objects of wonder. In 1997 we launched the Cassini probe in a 10 year voyage to study the Saturn system, closer than any human object had ever been before. Over its 20 year mission, Cassini sent back over 400 gigabytes of raw data including over 400,000 images of Saturn, her rings and moons. The vast majority of this information was in the form of black and manipulated to form elegant full color portraits and movies of the unEarthly beauty of the Saturn system. However, the sheer magnitude of new information and the unexpected form much of it took, begged for new ways to explore the planet and the data.

Cassini’s Dreams” is a rich audio experience, built from raw data and artistic interpretation of the two decades of Cassini’s tour. There she was our virtual eyes and ears on Saturn. As the probe swept past the gas giant, traveling above and below her rings, swooping down on moons to fly through icy plumes, above methane oceans, past shepherd moons guiding ring particles in their orbits and spying on propeller moons as they create delicate internal structures and waves. These were two decades of wonder and data collected, until Cassini finally plunged in her death throes into the cold cloud tops of the planet itself. “Cassini’s Dreams” lets you join Cassini in her exploration of the giant ringed planet nine times as far from the sun as we are from Earth.

This album was produced as a collaboration between China Blue, Seth Horowitz and the composer and creator of the T-Mobile ring tone Lance Massey. China Blue was inspired by the image of Saturn and her rings to make the CD. As a visual artist she look closely at Cassini’s images and thought that seeing Saturn from her North Pole that it looked very much like a vinyl record album with Saturn as the center core and all of the tracks as her rings. She imagined that the gaps of the tracks as the spaces between the rings. Then as a sound based artist she realized that to create the sounds of her rings would be a unique and exciting CD that the Engine Institute has produced.

The Engine Institute, Inc. fosters collaborative explorations between artists and scientists through research, development and presentations.  By providing support and encouraging freedom of thought, innovation and imagination we facilitate the spread of scientific and artistic literacy.  We believe that through this cross-fertilization fruitful innovations for our immediate future will result and benefit society.


The Engine powers investigations into art, science and technology for the near future through the next century.

Special thanks to:

NASA/RI Space Grant, Saatchi Art, Pulse Art Fair, Scope Art Fair, Armory Art Fair, Newport Art Museum, Whitney Museum, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Sculpture Magazine, MIT, Leonard0, NY laser, Venice Biennale, Rhode Island State Council for the Arts, RISD Museum, Migros, Tokyo Wondersite, Art in America, Harvard, Yale, Berkelee, Brown University, the city of Paris, France.