...on February 4th , the Russians announced the launching of a seven-ton Sputnik. The flight of this heaviest-ever satellite was surrounded by mystery. The Russians said little about it at first, leaving Western specialists to conclude that the actual results of the launching were unexpected. Somebody tuned in on 22 mhz and heard "moans and heartbeats". Someone else heard Russian morse code.
Was this a manned shot? Had the pilot been-incapacitated at launch, and was he now flying through space, slowly dying in the interplanetary vastness?
The Russians were obviously covering up something. A series of lesser scientists were trotted out to talk about the advances and experiments on the new Sputnik. It would "study the earth as a planet". It had "a series of new scientific instruments". It "brought the first manned flight closer".
An Italian physiologist, listening to a tape of the "heartbeats", said that they were obviously from a dying man.
Knowledgeable observers have called this last report "utter nonsense". Some have used stronger words. Biomedical data from space is encoded onto telemetry carrier signals which are then decoded on the ground. Heartbeat, breath rate, temperature, etc., are all encoded together; the signal sounds like chirping or organ piping. It does not sound like heartbeats.
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