29 March 2010

Is Slayer louder on Mars?

Spending 9,5 hours per day in a cubicle under the steady glare of LCD monitors tends to make you ponder the deeper meaning of life. You start asking seriously deep questions, such as:

Is Slayer louder on Mars?


Mars red planet
Mars, slightly redder than Uranus.

Factors that contribute to loudness


Loudness is a subjective measure that indicates the intensity of a sound that a person experiences. For the greater glory of Slayer, it is more apt to use less subjective standards of measure such as decibels. The decibel is the unit of sound pressure, so regardless of how loud the tree in the forest is when it falls, you can still measure the sound pressure even if you can't necessarily hear it. The decibel is a logarithmic unit of measurement that expresses the magnitude of a physical quantity relative to a reference level.

What would be our reference level?


For our reference, we may choose the theoretical maximum pressure of sound on planet earth at standard atmospheric pressure level. This is 101 325 Pa, which is the equivalent of 194,094 db, which is kak loud. The threshold of pain for audio lies at 134 db, so Slayer this loud could cause your ears to bleed. Only recommended for true fans.

How do we determine the theoretical maximum pressure of sound on Mars?


This is a little more tricky because Mars isn't 30 seconds away just yet. However, with some creative accounting we might get there. Sound pressure depends on the medium that carries the sound. Our reference level is already measured at standard atmospheric pressure, so all we need is the standard atmospheric pressure on Mars. This is about 0,7 % of the average surface pressure at sea level on Earth, meaning we have (0,7 x 101 325) / 100 which is 709,275 Pa. This is the equivalent of 150,996 db, which is considerably softer (I used this handy sound level calculator).

What would Slayer sound like on Mars?


Carbon dioxide is the main component of Mars's atmosphere so you ecological fascists should really be taxing Martians instead of your terrestrial slaves. Carbon dioxide comprises of 95 % of Mars's atmosphere. The main components of the Earth's atmosphere are Nitrogen (78 %) and Oxygen (21 %).

The molar mass of Carbon Dioxide is greater than that of Nitrogen and Oxygen combined. Even though the molar mass of Mars's atmosphere is greater than that of the Earth, the area of Mars's atmosphere is much larger. Pressure depends on force per pressure area. More molar mass means greater force, but a greater pressure area means less resulting pressure, despite a greater molar mass.

Thus, on Mars, Slayer would sound softer, but also lower. If you like it loud, be thankful that we evolved on Earth and not on Mars, otherwise it might sound like Brad Roberts is singing for Slayer! There are a few samples of what sound would theoretically sound like on Mars on the Mars Microphone page.

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