Thursday, September 22, 2011

Rocket Sound and Noise Reduction

When I watched the launch of the Nasa Grail Moon Mission on September 10, 2011, I was only about 5 miles from the actual launch site.  From what I understand, that was about as close as we could get that day.

One thing I noticed was that after liftoff, it took the sound several seconds to reach where we were at.  I think someone calculated that it took 25 seconds.  As I remember that moment, it was like a rush of loud sound that vibrated the ground, the air and each one of us.  You could feel it just as clearly as if you felt a raindrop. 

The other thing I noticed was that right after the sound, it was like there was a vacuum created with virtually no sound.  It was a peaceful sound and feeling.  However, this lasted almost long enough to realize it, but it vanished almost instantaneously. 

I have been doing some reading and water is used as the rocket is getting ready to lift off to help reduce the noise.  Without the water, the sound could cause damage to the rocket and launch facilities.  Adding the water at launch, it helps reduce the noise to prevent damage to any wildlife or humans in the area.  It is interesting to note that without water and if a person was too close to the launch, that the sound could be deadly. 

I'll never forget this experience because it is the first time I have ever heard and felt sound in the way that I did.  It impacted my body in a strange way that day and I so remember the feeling of the peace directly after it.  The entire experience gives me a different perspective on what we perceive, feel and sense and how it all impacts the body. 

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