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Ask Dr. Universe: Can you hear in space?

Dr-Universe-230VANCOUVER, Wash. – Your question reminds me of an experiment: You put a ringing alarm clock in a jar and use a hose to slowly suck out all the air. As the air escapes, the ringing gets quieter until there’s no sound at all.

The inside of the jar becomes what scientists call a vacuum. It’s empty. Just like space.

Despite any zooms and explosions you may have heard in movies about outer space, sound actually can’t travel through empty space. That’s why on the moon, where there is no air, astronauts have to use radios to talk with each other.

But here on Earth, all kinds of sounds are traveling through air, water, and other objects. The molecules that make up these objects help the sound travel.

That’s what I found out when I visited my friend Allison Coffin to learn more about how sound moves. Coffin is a brain scientist here at Washington State University Vancouver. In her research, she investigates hearing and hearing loss.

Read all of this answer from Dr. Universe at https://askdruniverse.wsu.edu/2016/01/18/can-you-hear-in-space/.

 

A service of Washington State University, Ask Dr. Universe answers some of the most interesting, tough and smart questions from curious kids all around the world.

 

 

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