NASA likes listening to space, because it’s kind of noisy up there. Somewhere in the background there are echoes of the Big Bang, and if we can decipher those, we’ll know a lot about how the universe came to be. But when the scientists at a listening post in Palestine, Texas, sent up a balloon to hear what it could hear, they were surprised when the universe started playing booty bass from outer space:
“The universe really threw us a curve,” [Alan Kogut of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center] says. “Instead of the faint signal we hoped to find, here was this booming noise six times louder than anyone had predicted.”Detailed analysis ruled out an origin from primordial stars or from known radio sources, including gas in the outermost halo of our own galaxy. The source of this cosmic radio background remains a mystery.