04/18/2012 03:14 pm ET

Mickey Hart On The Grateful Dead: 'We Weren't A Girl Scouts Troop'

As the percussionist in the Grateful Dead, Mickey Hart explored the outer reaches of American popular music. As a musicologist with the Smithsonian Institute, Hart has explored historical rhythms from around the world. But in recent years, Hart has been exploring music from outer space – quite literally. Space itself is a vacuum where no sound can escape, so Hart commissioned a team of scientists to measure the properties and light waves of certain celestial bodies – from planets and stars to entire galaxies and nebulae – and convert them to sound waves using advanced algorithms. It's a process called sonification. "And what we find out in deep space is very, very noisy," Hart tells Rolling Stone.

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