Sonic booms heard across Galveston part of NASA project

Its perfect out -- not too hot, not too crowded. In short, it's a great day to learn the ukulele on Galveston beach for these Harvey cleanup volunteers taking a little break, until they heard what they thought was thunder.

"I looked over and I didn't see anything and I said 'oh, that's weird' and that's about it," said Genevieve Haley.

No it was not thunder, it was NASA. It's conducting a series of experiments that might interest you. They're trying to make air travel faster. Much faster. Like supersonic faster. We haven't had a supersonic airliner since the Concorde, which stopped flying in 2003.

"A lot has happened since then and we can make an aircraft that's quiet enough that it could fly overhead at supersonic speed without creating a loud sonic boom and maybe not even heard at all," says Peter Coen with NASA.

The test plane isn't ready yet, so they're using the F-18 for now. You can see the plane's contrail overhead as it dives to break the sound barrier, then level off. The maneuver stretches out the shockwaves to make more of a low thud than a crack. They have remote listening devices and 500 citizens listening for the booms scattered around the island. 

"We need data to see how people respond to the sounds," says Coen.

While it's generating some buzz on social media, it didn't bother our beach goers.

"They broke the sound barrier? Oh cool! That's super cool. I feel like I broke the sound barrier with those sweet tunes! Different kind of sound barrier. They're ya go!" laughed Haley.

If you want to get involved in the project you can. Go to their website www.nasa.gov/qsfscientist or call their hotline at (281) 483-5111

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