As I lay here at 2am contemplating the vastness of the universe, and scanning my DVD collection so I can either put myself to sleep or have some stimulus to pull an 'all-nighter', I happened to come across Space Balls. Now if you have never heard of it, it is a 1980s parody of Star Wars that got a cult following and was referred onto me by my parents when I was a teenager. My point being as I watched this movie, staring a young Bill Pullman (the President from one of my favourite movies Independance Day - which, got me further interested in this topic) is that during the space battles and finale, just like Independance Day, there are inevitably explosions (I won't spoil it but being based around Star Wars you should already know there is going to be a big boom somewhere in it). As most do now with any science fiction movie, my immediate thought was, there can't be a boom because there is no sound in space. But then I began to think about it. I've done some research over the last 30 minutes and as far as I can read, there is no sound in space (bar the ultra-low frequencies that can be detected due to the sparsely placed hydrogen atom). Another thing I found alot of was flame about explosions in science fiction movies. Now I ponder this statement because as far as I can read hearing sound is a direct result of vibrations through a medium which is translated by our ears. And even the Department of Energy in the United States of America had this to answer of a high schoolers question of "Is there sound in space?" Department of Energy, United States of America: Sound needs a medium to travel in such as air. There is no such medium in space. The myth of sound in space has been promulgated by Hollywood in movies and tv: rocket engines firing and explosions would have little impact on the audience if there was no sound. A little anecdote: Harlan Ellison, one of our preeminant modern day science fiction authors, is the creative consultant for the tv show "Babylon 5", and has declared publicly that he will continue in that capacity only as long as we don't hear any explosions in outer space! Now not to discredit or disagree with the Department of Energy, who undoubtadly employ people who are smarter, and can probably spell better, than a lowly university student studying advertising like me, but I can't help but have a few questions. For as long as I have seen science fiction movies, I have heard the complaint that explosions in space have no sound. But, as in Star Wars, which I will be using as my example - particularly the Death Star explosion (either one, take your pick, and sorry - hope I didn't spoil it for anyone), there are several things that to me seem to warrant a big boom explosion. 1/ The Death Star, as with other spaceship that go boom, are supposedly large vessels, that are supporting tens, hundreds and if not thousands of lives. According to these movies these creatures are humanoid or similiar and require oxygen to breath. 2/ So, when you have a vessel the size of the Death Star, or say, Mother Ship from Independance Day - you are talking about gigantic proportions of gas. 3/ When these vessels explode, would these gases not expand into the 'space', providing the medium for the sound of the boom to travel along it? Although I do not underestimate the power of the dark side, surely in any explosion of a vessel, ALL of the oxygen wouldn't be consumed, leaving some to stay in the space that was 'empty'. So to put it simply, when the Death Star was destroyed, wouldnt the oxygen and gasses providing life support inside the vessel then provide a medium for the sound to travel through as the explosion rippled through space? The only question then is how far would the gas be able to carry the sound away from the explosion site (at a human hearable frequency), and would it be far enough to reach the vantage point depicted in these movies, so as if the audience were actually there, where the camera was, they would hear it. Anyway. That is the conundrum I face tonight as I ponder the stars and decide if I shall sleep tonight or go have a shower to keep me awake. Happy thinking to you all.