Can astronauts play musical instruments in space? (Beginner)

Have any astronauts ever played any musical instruments in space in a spacecraft? Is it possible to play any instruments that you blow in in space or is it not possible because of zero gravity?

Astronauts do indeed play musical instruments in space--according to one story I found, it is a popular Saturday pastime aboard the space station! Instruments should work just fine in zero gravity. The space-bound musician would only run into trouble if she tried to play outside of the shuttle or space station. Sounds waves need air to travel through, so even though the string of a violin would vibrate properly in the near-vacuum of space, it wouldn't produce any sound. Brass instruments would also fall silent: they produce sound because of air vibrating inside their metals bodies, so without air, there would be no sound!

NASA has some neat pictures of astronauts playing their musical instruments here:

Trumpeting on the International Space Station

Guitar in space

On top of that, Canadian astronaut Commander Chris Hadfield has become quite well known for his videos singing and playing the guitar on the International Space Station!

Page last updated on June 24, 2015.

About the Author

Kate Becker

Kate Becker

With more than a decade of experience as a science writer, Kate Becker has written on a wide variety of science and science policy subjects for web, print, radio, and television, with an emphasis on astronomy and physics. As a researcher for NOVA and NOVA scienceNOW, the nation's premiere science documentary series, Kate investigated everything from human hibernation to invisibility cloaks. She studied physics at Oberlin College and astronomy at Cornell University, and she's had the good fortune to observe with the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico and the Very Large Array in New Mexico, two of the very best places on this pale blue dot of a planet.

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