Wow, super cool. A group of schoolkids in Italy measured the distance from the earth to the moon using the delayed echo in the audio recording of Neil Armstrong’s famous “One small step…” speech.
From the article in Technology review
They used the open source audio editing program Audacity to measure the echo’s delay which turned out to be 2.620 secs and used this to work out the distance to the moon as 3.93 x 10^8 metres.
That’s not bad given that the actual distance varies between 3.63 and 4.05 x10^8 metres.
I’ve also got some fun activities using Audacity and other sound programs to do some sound analysis, such as the difference between men’s and women’s voices, exploring harmonics in music, and the wonderful Escher staircase illusion of music. Here’s the handout (PDF). Here’s another version of that handout (PDF) using another free piece of software that is GREAT for elementary and middle school kids in particular, the TEEMSS Soundgrapher.