Sounds on distant worlds

Imagining a visit to another planet just got a little easier, with the first data-based simulations of extraterrestrial sounds. Space probes have never captured actual sounds on other worlds, but a team led by Tim Leighton of the University of Southampton in England has simulated such noises by calculating how sound would travel through various planetary atmospheres. For example, human vocal cords would vibrate more slowly in the dense atmosphere on Venus, but sound waves would travel faster, making the speaker seem smaller. The overall effect: something like a bass Smurf, Leighton says. Listen to samples of the sounds by clicking on links below.

Voice on Earth

Voice on Venus

Voice on Titan

Erika Engelhaupt is a freelance science writer and editor based in Knoxville, Tenn.

More Stories from Science News on Astronomy