Does sound travel faster in space?

The short answer is that sound does not travel in space at all. 

Since sound is received by our ears in the form of vibrating air and there is virtually no air in space, there is nothing to vibrate to make a sound. You could even imagine the loudest sounds you can think of, like a giant explosion, a star coming into existence, or even a star imploding.

In space, none of these would not make a sound. So, when you can hear all of the laser shots in Star Wars or any other films set in space, realistically, you would not hear a thing. But humans have designed a way around this obvious drawback for communication in space travel.

However, if you were in a spaceship where there is a self-contained flow of oxygen and therefore air, you would be able to hear the person next to you talking. Imagine the spaceship as its own little bubble with a pocket of air that can vibrate making sound.

Does sound travel faster in space?

This is just like the air in the spacesuit of an astronaut: the fact that it is a separate self-contained bubble allows the astronaut inside to hear themselves breathe, talk and move. But if they tried to speak to another astronaut who happened to float by in space, they would not hear them at all.

The only way they would be able to hear them is with the use of a two-way communicator. These radio communicators make use of radio waves which can travel through space as they do not need air to do so.

So, imagine you are trying to tell an astronaut passing by that you like the color of their space suit, you’d be able to hear it yourself in your own spacesuit, but the astronaut with the nice space suit will be hearing your voice after it has been converted to radio waves, then back to normal sound in their own suit.

Newer films that are set in space have begun to play around with the fact that sound cannot travel in space without the use of radio waves. This experimentation can add a little more suspense thanks to the silence of a ship exploding.

But older films set in space that are full of those classic ‘pew-pew’ sounds a factually incorrect and the sound is just there for entertainment purposes. In reality, if a Death Star crept up on you, unless you were looking directly at it, you would not even know it was near you since you would have no way of hearing it through space.

So, not only does sound not travel faster in space, it doesn’t travel at all through space naturally. Unless you have something like a spaceship or a space suit which can contain its own air, noise will not occur. If there are no air molecules to vibrate, sound will never reach a human ear.

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