Sounds and Vacuum

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TalkinTom

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Hello
While watching the two spacewalkers on Nasa TV doing their work on the ISS, I pondered a question. He was holding an electric drill motor, which was turning attachment screws to anchor new equipment. Since the worker is a suit that has an atmosphere inside, can he hear the noise of the turning drill motor? We know he feels the vibration of the tool. Please help and answer this question before I go to space and find out myself... Thanks, TalkinTom
 
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Captain_Salty

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i think if the vibrations he can feel are strong enough, they will generate sound within his suit. i've never managed to hear the drill on nasa tv through their helmet cam/mic, but you do hear a lot of other clanging of tools and parts
 
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nimbus

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Why not ask an actual space walker? It's a pretty simple question, so there ought to be one who would answer if you asked.

Baxter's "Titan" novel seems a fairly researched piece of realistic Scifi, and I remember that at least once in the book there's description of sound from either something held in the astro's hands, or from larger structures felt through seat of the pants, coming through conduction as a distant sound to the astro's ears. I can't say that's any guarantee of what the real thing is like, but if I remember where in the book it is, I'll try and find it and quote it here.

I do think asking an astronaut is worth trying though.
 
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MeteorWayne

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That's a great idea. I believe there's a place on the NASA website to ask questions of the astronauts (if you can find it)
 
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Woggles

Guest
I did a quick google search and found something about it.

"Imagine that you're an astronaut on a space shuttle mission. You've decided to step out into space but forgot to put on your space suit. You press your face against the space shuttle. You wouldn't have any air in your ears, so you couldn't hear in the traditional sense. However, you might be able to make out a few sounds through bone conduction before the perils of space caused you to expire. In bone conduction, sound waves travel through the bones of the jaw and skull to the inner ear, bypassing the eardrum. There's no need for air, so you could hear your fellow astronauts partying inside the shuttle for about 15 seconds. After that, you'd likely be unconscious and well on your way to asphyxiation. "

http://science.howstuffworks.com/humans ... /printable

I would have to guess if they could hear through this method it would be quite muffled due to all the layers they wear.

Adding something else

"The sound of space…I thought I would talk about this one a little, reflecting on my experience from my EVA on STS-116. What is true and what most folks think is that there is no sound in space. From almost all recollections I would agree. However, during the solar array retract attempt during the Shuttle mission, I “heard” something. If you remember, Beamer and I were up on the mast canister of the solar array we were trying to retract. The folks inside and on the ground were sending commands to the motor in the canister to retract the array. My hand was holding onto a handrail on the canister. As soon as that motor started turning, I “heard” it. Actually, I heard it through my arm, connected to my hand, connected to the structure of the canister, connected to the motor assembly. It was so natural for me to think I heard it - I forgot I was in space and there is no sound in space. In fact it was the vibration - which sound is - that generated the “sound” I heard, which so closely resembled the motor. Acoustics - so cool!"

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/stati ... ms_11.html
 
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MeteorWayne

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Just to attribute, those "Adding something else" comments were from Sunita Williams.
 
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