Question of the Week Podcast

Question of the Week episode

Mon, 26th Nov 2012

On Mars nobody can hear you scream. Is that really true? And if so, why?

Mars_from_hubble (c) NASA

On Mars nobody can hear you scream. Is that really true? And if so, why?  Plus we ask, can we mix spider and human DNA to make Spiderman?

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In this edition of Question of the Week

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  • Would things sound different on Mars?

    Hi Naked Scientists! I have a question about Mars: I know the atmosphere is a lot thinner than here on Earth so does that mean sound would travel slower there? I was thinking about Curiosity wanting to talk with one of his rover buddies & how they could communicate over lon...



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Mars has an atmosphere mostly of CO2 at a pressure 6.5 millibars (Earth 1000 millibars) the speed of propagation of sound is little different in CO2 compared to the familiar O2/N2 mix that we have on Earth so pitch should be little affected.
The problem is not in the transmission but in the generation and reception as human throats and ears would not work well at such low ambient pressures.
If the scream was picked up by a microphone in ones pressure suit and fed to an external speaker and if ones colleague had a microphone outside his suit feeding a headset the scream would get across no problem.    syhprum, Wed, 28th Nov 2012

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