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A Strange Knocking Heard By Chinese Astronaut During Space Mission

A Chinese spaceman has described hearing a weird “knocking” sound in space and no one is really sure what it is. The phenomenon was exposed by Yang Liwei, who became China’s 1st astronaut known as a “taikonaut” on October 16, 2003. He flew to space on board the Shenzhou 5 spacecraft, and made China the third country after the US and Russia to individually send an astronaut to space. But talking recently to China Central Television, he informed hearing something weird on that first 21-hour mission.

 “A non-causal situation I have met in 
space is a knock that appeared from time to time. It neither came from outside nor inside the spaceship, but sounded like someone is knocking the body of the spaceship just as knocking an iron bucket with a wooden hammer.” he said, reported Xinhua. He added that he was worried when he heard the sound, and looked out the porthole to try and see the cause, but saw nothing of note. Fascinatingly, the same sound was heard by other Chinese astronauts on the Shenzhou 6 and 7 spacecraft in 2005 and 2008, respectively. There are several options for what the noise might have been. The first is perhaps space debris striking the spacecraft, although this seems somewhat unlikely. Maybe more reasonably, it may have been the result of the spacecraft contracting and expanding in the low-temperature environment of space. This is not the first time weird sounds have been heard in space. The Apollo 10 crew, on their journey around the Moon in May 1969, excellently heard a mysterious whistling sound, which was likely some kind of radio interference.

It is enough to get your tin foil hat stiffening, but rest assured there is maybe some balanced explanation, rather than some scoundrel aliens trying to make contact. The knocking sound is still attractive weird though, and the fact that it only seems to have been heard on these Chinese spacecraft proposes it might be a construction issue that is common across the Shenzhou vehicles. Luckily, all of those missions were carried out successfully, so whatever it was, it does not seem to have posture any danger to the crews.

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