How do astronauts communicate in space?
Have you seen the movie Interstellar? Or any of the space movies? Have you seen them talking through the space suit? Sound, as such, needs a medium to travel. On Earth, the sound travels through air, but what about space where there is no air? Space is a vacuum,. Approximately there is one atom per cubic centimetre in space. With such low density, atoms are not close enough for the sound to travel or bounce and reach the eardrums. So, in simple terms – No Atoms, no waves and hence, no sound. Spaceship don’t actually make noise in space unless they are in the atmosphere of planet. Also, sound cannot travel through vacuum!
The atoms on Earth are close enough to let the sound glide by the air. When we strike a guitar- the strings vibrate and the atoms of metal string hit the atoms around it and that vibration is passed along to the next and next until it hits your ears! The sound travel through the air like the domino or ripple effect. It strike the atoms in the air that reach our eardrum to vibrate that we “hear”. Once they are in the tympani membrane of the ear at the same frequency and the tiny bone in your middle and inner ear translate to energy that your brain can interpret. Hence, Sound can travel through solids, liquids and gases.
So how do the astronauts communicate in space?
They make use of radio waves. Radio waves signal are sent their headsets that in turn translates the signal in the form of sound. While communicating with people on Earth – the radio waves are transmitted which in turn are transformed to sound wave by a radio set. Radio waves comes from the light spectrum called Electromagnetic Spectrum and thus they are light waves. Unlike sound, light waves doesn’t need a medium to travel and it is for this reason that the sun ray travels through space to the Earth! Isn’t it amazing?
Fun fact: We all know who was the first man that landed on moon? But were the first words ever heard in space?
It was the announcement of landing that was said by Neil Armstrong: “Lunar Module has landed on moon”
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