TORONTO – ‘Alien’ sounds have been captured at the edge of space.
According to Live Science, using infrasound microphones, grad student Daniel Bowman was able to capture the mysterious hisses and whistles 36 kilometers above the Earth’s surface.
Bowman designed and built the equipment which allowed him to eavesdrop on atmospheric infrasound, or sound waves at frequencies below 20 hertz.
Infrasound is below human hearing range, but speeding up the recordings makes them audible.
“It sounds kind of like ‘The X-Files,'” Bowman told Live Science.
Live Science explailns:
“It sounds kind of like ‘The X-Files,'” Bowman told Live Science. [Listen: High-Altitude Infrasound Recorded in Space]
The infrasound sensors were dangling from a helium balloon that flew above New Mexico and Arizona on Aug. 9, 2014. The experiment was one of 10 payloads flown last year on the High Altitude Student Platform (HASP). The high-altitude balloon flight is an annual project conducted by NASA and the Louisiana Space Consortium that is meant to spark student interest in space research. Since 2006, HASP has launched more than 70 experiments designed by college students across the United States.
During the 9-hour flight, the balloon and its payloads floated some 450 miles (725 km) and reached a height of more than 123,000 feet (37,500 meters). This is a region of near space — above where airplanes fly, but below the boundary marking the top of the stratosphere, 62 miles (100 km) above the Earth’s surface.
“There haven’t been acoustic recordings in the stratosphere for 50 years,” Bowman was quoted as saying.
“Surely, if we place instruments up there, we will find things we haven’t seen before,” he added.
So what is causing the sounds?
According to LiveScience, scientists have offered the following guesses to explain the eerie sounds:
– the signals came from a wind farm under the balloon’s flight path,
– ocean waves create low frequency sounds, they could have been the source,
– wind turbulence,
– the balloon cable vibrating could be the culprit,
– gravity waves, and
– clear air turbulence.
The balloon floated 725km across the Earth’s surface and reached a height of more than 37,500 metres.
Have a listen to the audio above and let us know what you think the sound is.