A (potentially silly) question

Reply Tue 1 Aug, 2017 05:49 am
Hi everyone!

Alright, I am writing a short story in which the protagonists at one point attempt to jump ship (in space). To avoid detection they avoid using radio to communicate, however I thought of a way to get around the obvious issues this would raise. I however have no idea if the physics behind this idea of mine check out (I graduated high school with only a C in physics, so yeah), thus I came here.

My question: if one were to press the glass (or some space age equivalent) visor of his or her helmet against another person's visor, would that be sufficient for sound to pass from the former to the latter in a way that would make conversation possible?

Thanks in advance!

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Reply Tue 1 Aug, 2017 06:10 am
That works in theory (sound waves need a physical medium to travel, and plexiglass counts).

This technique has already been used in science fiction... it's not a new idea.
Reply Tue 1 Aug, 2017 07:10 am
They could also use lamps e.g flashlights to signal in Morse code. Or wires - the space suits could be equipped with a cord and connector (a jack) like fighter pilots have. Or they could switch to 'private mode'.
Reply Tue 1 Aug, 2017 08:57 am
The talk by wire idea is quite good! thanks for the suggestion.
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Reply Tue 1 Aug, 2017 08:58 am
Now you piqued my interest, where have you seen the technique before?
Reply Tue 1 Aug, 2017 09:01 am
I saw something similar, not too long ago it maybe last year, in a Science fiction TV show... I am trying to remember the scene. It might have "Dark Matter".
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Reply Tue 1 Aug, 2017 09:04 am
A quick google found Robert Heinlein's book "Space Cadet" used this device (touching helmets).

And this one from 1946

Ross Rocklynne, "And Then There Was One", Astounding Feb. 1946, p. 67:

Latham thought about this for a while, and then thought of something which
began to bring some sort of order out of the chaos. His capable jaw set,
and he made a motion to March to switch off his radio entirely; Latham did
the same, and then beckoned March. But March was suspicious and made vigorous
denials. Impatiently, Latham put his arms above his head. March nodded
energetically and did the same, and then approached. Latham maneuvered until
their helmets were touching.

“Can you hear me?”

“Just about,” March nodded in surprise.

“The sound is carried through the helmets. Now listen. Did you ever stop to
think that our Nemesis told us this planet was rotating?"
Reply Tue 1 Aug, 2017 09:18 am
Cool, thanks!
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Reply Tue 1 Aug, 2017 08:13 pm
Van, good q, and I'd say yes
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