Hollywood has a lot to answer for when it comes to misleading the public about sound and space. We are probably all somewhat familiar with the phrase ‘in space no one can hear you scream!’ Scary stuff, fortunately most of us rarely find ourselves in a situation where we are not only in space but also in need of a good scream to attract help. In fact I would confidently wager less than 50% of people find themselves in such a situation.
But while Hollywood is pretty good at remembering there’s no talking in space like it’s some kind of big cinema, it’s not very good at remembering no sound travel in space means it applies to more than just speech. How many times have you watched a film that has laser sounds and explosions going off in space? I know you could argue that the sound adds to the drama but the need for drama has probably produced generations of dim witted folk.
So sound doesn’t travel in space, because space is a big lot of nothing. Nothing means there’s no particles for sound to bounce through and make it to your ears. No particles also means there is zero drag there, you could just throw a ball from planet to planet with no more power than you have in your pinky finger.
Space officially begins about 100km upwards. Which if you think about it, isn’t that far. It’s certainly doable as a day trip in a car… if you could just convince your car to drive upwards. But so far, no amount of asking my car to consider it has resulted in her doing anything but stick to the ground. Something about gravity I think…
Fortunately there are other places to consider for a day trip if you’re looking for silence and no drag. My mind for example. My mental health demon has been suspiciously quiet of late and I would say that is not a drag. One might even say something about it being all quiet on the Western front, in that particular battle.
I am still sadly a little sleep deprived as I get on average 6.5 hours sleep a night. Which I was going to consider really weird until I discovered that astronauts too are only able to sleep for 6.5 hours while in orbit. Scientists have only recently noticed this phenomenon so they haven’t finished doing all the uneccesary experiments to find out why.
I’ll save us all some time and have a stab at it. In space you weight less, you’re muscles don’t have to work so hard, you need less energy, you sleep less. Job done. And it also explains my sleeping pattern. I’m no longer weighed down by depression, I need less energy. Hurrah!
Dr. S. Hansen