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Screams sent into space to test vacuum theory

hubble-extreme-deep-field

Called the eXtreme Deep Field, or XDF, the photo was assembled by combining 10 years of NASA Hubble Space Telescope photographs taken of a patch of sky at the center of the original Hubble Ultra Deep Field. The XDF is a small fraction of the anNASA, ESA, G. Illingworth, D. Magee, and P. Oesch (University of California, Santa Cruz), R. Bouwens (Leiden University), and the HUDF09 Team

A group of students are carrying out an experiment in space to settle once and for all the validity of the long-held theory that sound cannot be heard in a vacuum.

The team from the Cambridge University Spaceflight (CUSF) society are launching a smartphone into orbit that will play videos of members of the public screaming in a variety of ways.

As the videos are played, the team hope to find the answer to the question of whether or not anyone can hear you scream in space.

Edward Cunningham, one of the students involved with the experiment, explained the reasoning behind it.

"The whole justification behind this is that sound doesn't travel in a vacuum," he said. "And it is something we're told in school and you can actually test it in a lab.

"But we realized that no one has actually done an experiment in space before specifically to do this. And we thought it would be fun to try this out."

The students asked members of the public to record 10-second videos of screaming in creative ways. According to CUSF, they received over 100 videos from all over the world.

The 10 most popular - which will be used in the experiment - were then selected in an online ballot.

Once in space, the videos will be played in the surrounding vacuum while a voice recorder attempts to pick up the screams.

According to theory, this should be impossible, but the society is undaunted.

As they carry out final testing in the basement laboratory of CUSF, society member Adam Greig said he was convinced something would come out of the experiment - although he was not clear exactly what.

"I think we will hear something but I am waiting tensely to see what exactly we hear," he said.