Part of this discussion that intrigues me is the literalness of it.
When you watch a cop show, and the cop fires his gun, do people really
think it makes that BOOM! sound? Listen to a real gun; it's usually sort of a
When a car screeches around the corner, does it *really* make that huge
When someone gets punched in a TV episode, and you hear a sharp CRACK! as
fist impacts chin, do people really think it makes that sound, rather than a
kind of barely-audible fleshy *thud*?
Is the microphone in space, is the microphone enclosed, is the microphone
a person...the microphone *isn't there*.
Nothing in television is intended as absolute reality, even when it
aspires to that. The most rigorous of all documentaries nonetheless must cull
quotes. When we mix an episode, we add in footsteps (because you couldn't
hear them otherwise), we add voices in the background via walla groups that
weren't there in the first place, dub in lines that didn't exist, add the
sound of punches, add the sound of PPGs firing, enhance the sound of a punch,
add bleeps and beeps to machinery...the argument that adding sound to space
isn't real doesn't hold up because *virtually none* of the sound you hear is
real, and again virtually NONE of it is there when the microphone and camera
It just seems odd to me to concentrate on this one issue, when in truth
the sound is false throughout *ALL* television. Why this and not the other?
One of the researchers I contacted at the High Altitude Observatory
stated the case very eloquently: he said that to date, *no one* has ever stuck
a microphone out into space to see what anyone could hear; and no one has ever
stuck their head out of a shuttle, minus helmet, to find out either. It's
*all* conjecture. So you might as well assume there is sound of some sort as
there isn't, until someone does the actual experiment.
Another scientist there at the HAO, Steve Smith, PhD (plasma/
astrophysicist) wrote me saying, "Space is not empty, it's full of plasma
(ionized gas) and full of the plasma equivalent of sound waves. Since plasma
is ionized and generally contains a magnetic field, there are a lot more types
of waves than just sound waves (usually the only form of atmospheric wave we
But here's a real killer: from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena,
CA, a scientist who worked on the Voyager mission noted that "probes like
Voyager do register bow-shock as they cross the speed of sound in the
That was *monitored* at JPL. So if there's no sound in space...what was
There's plenty of evidence that there IS sound in space. How much, or
little, can't be known until experiments on this have been conducted by
researchers, and thus far this has not been done. Until it has, there seems
nothing amiss with the direction we've taken.
I am just intrigued at how much of a bugaboo this is in the SF community,
which swallows the BLAMMMMM! of a beat cop's .38 without ever even questioning
if it would *really* make that sound or not.