This Sound Chamber Could Kill You

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The European Space Agency has one killer sound system. No, really, it could blast you away.

Located in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, the Agency’s Large European Acoustic Facility or LEAF is a giant chamber designed to test satellites. The room subjects satellites to the same noise that a launcher produces as it takes off and flies through the atmosphere, according to the ESA.

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The room has walls that are about 36 feet wide, 54 feet tall and about 30 feet deep. One side contains enormous sound horns embedded into it. When nitrogen is shot through them, they can produce sound exceeding 154 decibels, which ESA compared to standing near several jets as they take off. Hat tips to Dvice and io9.

“No human being could survive hearing it at maximum output,” the Agency stated.

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Fortunately nobody is likely to since the horns won’t sound if the chamber door is open. Added safety measures include steel-reinforced concrete walls coated with resin and rubber pads that help isolate the chamber from its surroundings. Although I have a feeling a James Bond villain could figure out a way around all that.

Photo: Engineer Kees van Zijtveldt stands next to a sound horn at the European Space Agency’s Large European Acoustic Facility in the Netherlands. Credit: ESA/Guus Schoonewille