Sun, Jul 17, 2011
And There's A Perfectly Good Scientific Explanation
Astronauts getting set for EVAs aboard the International Space
Station may really enjoy their work, but you won't hear them
whistling as they exit the airlock to work outside the station.
"You hear humming," astronaut Jim Rielly told ABC News, "but not
The phenomenon was first noticed by former astronaut Dan Barry,
who reportedly tried whistling during an EVA in May, 1999. Barry
consulted with Mission Control, who told him that it's a simple
matter of air pressure.
It seems that space suits are pressurized to 4.3 psi, where
normal atmospheric pressure is 14.7 psi. There are simply not
enough air molecules passing through the embouchure of your lips to
make any sound.
Barry said had he been able to whistle, the tune he would have
chosen was "Whistle While You Work."
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