We all know that there is no sound in space, but NASA has proof sounds can actually be heard when recorded by special equipment. In a chilling video posted to YouTube, we can hear that space is not as silent as we thought.
Hollywood has led us to believe that there are sounds in space, but that is misleading, to say the least. The special sound effects, used in movies such as Gravity, would suggest that you hear things in space, but do you?
Sound needs a medium to travel, something to bounce off, and since space is known as an empty vacuum, we shouldn’t be able to hear anything, right? Sound does exist in the form of electromagnetic vibrations that pulsate in similar wavelengths, according to NASA.
In the quest to determine whether space is an empty, soundless vacuum, NASA designed special instruments that could record these electromagnetic vibrations, and transferred them into sounds our ears could hear. The result is astonishing.
Space is indeed a virtual vacuum, however, this does not mean that there is no sound up there. We can hear things in the form of electromagnetic vibrations, but where do they come from?
“Through specially designed instruments, the NASA Voyager, INJUN 1, ISEE 1, and HAWKEYE space probes used plasma wave antenna to record the vibrations all within the range of human hearing (20-20,000 Hz).
“The recorded sounds are the complex interactions of charged electromagnetic particles from the Solar Wind, ionisphere, and planetary magnetosphere.
“The recordings include, Saturn’s rings, Miranda, Neptune, Voice of Earth, Saturn, Jupiter, IO, Rings of Uranus, Song of Earth, and Uranus.”
At a press conference in August of 2012, Don Gurnett, the principal investigator for Voyager 1’s plasma wave science instrument, demonstrated a series of sounds the instrument had picked up.
“Strictly speaking, the plasma wave instrument does not detect sound. Instead, it senses waves of electrons in the ionized gas or ‘plasma’ that Voyager travels through. These waves, however, do take place at frequencies that humans can detect.”
“We can play the data through a loudspeaker and listen. The pitch and frequency tell us about the density of gas surrounding the spacecraft.”
The sounds you will hear in this video are actual NASA recordings; nothing has been added or taken away. It’s amazing, and even famed Star Wars composer John Williams would be impressed. Listen.
[Image via NASA]