Link #8: You Can’t Hear Anything in Space!

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Link #8: You Can’t Hear Anything in Space!

Ear by Travis Isaacs cc2.0

Moving to Titan, one of Saturn’s moons, may be something that will allow humans to gain the ability to fly. However, if we prepare for days to move from one house to another, we should at least learn something about space before traveling through it. For example, did you know that you can’t hear anything in space? That’s right, there’s no sound in space.

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Sound Needs Matter to Travel

Sound Wave
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In order to understand why there is no sound in space, you need to understand how sound moves in the first place. The simplest explanation is that it travels through matter. Sound is basically vibrations in the molecules of whatever substance it is traveling through.

Sound can travel through all types of matter, and this includes solids, liquids and gases. When it travels through solid substances, you hear something like a thump or a ding. When it travels through gases, you hear it the way you normally do.

In fact, the best medium for sound to travel through is air. This is how we talk to each other and hear things around us. When sound travels through liquid, its effectiveness is slightly dampened (as you must know if you’ve ever been underwater and heard someone talking).

There Is No Air in Space, So No Sound

Space by Sweetie187 cc2.0

Now, the reason why you can’t hear anything in space is that there is nothing in it. Effectively, what this means is that even if sound is generated, it has no means of traveling from the point of origin to your ears.

If you make a sound right now, vibrations of one air molecule to another will allow the sound to travel. However, if the molecules are too far apart, this would be impossible to do. In space, whatever medium you can think of (solid, liquid or gas), its molecules are too far apart to travel. As a result, a sound made on Earth cannot travel to Saturn, regardless of how loud you make it.

But, Movies Show Explosions!

Space explosion
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A couple of movies you should consider watching if you want to see a realistic demonstration of the laws of physics in space are 2001: A Space Odyssey and Interstellar.

Unless your ship is right next to the exploding ship, you won’t hear the explosion. And, if your ship is that close, the fact that you can hear the explosion won’t matter because your ship would explode, too. However, with exploding spaceships, it is possible that you’ll hear the debris from that ship hitting your ship’s hull.

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