The next time you feel like complaining about your noisy neighbors or the guy in the car next to you whose stereo is cranked so loud that it rattles your fillings, take a minute to be grateful he isn’t blasting his music through the 154-decibel sound system at the Large European Acoustic Facility (LEAF).
The European Space Agency’s LEAF includes a 36-ft. by 54-ft. wall that can reach that ear-splitting level by pumping nitrogen into horns in order to simulate the noise made during a rocket launch.
At full strength, the sheer force of the sound could kill someone; that’s why the only things sitting in front of the horns are expensive satellite systems that are being stress tested.
LEAF is part of the ESA’s ESTEC Test Centre in The Netherlands. The sound system only operates once all of the doors are closed, and steel-reinforced concrete walls contain the noise. The sound chamber is supported on rubber bearing pads to isolate it from its surroundings.
Pump up the volume and hear your computer read a description of LEAF in the video below.