Space has always pushed mankind’s curiosity. When we look up at the stars, we wonder, are we alone in this vast universe? Or is there an end to this vastness? There’s a lot we know about space and then there’s a lot we don’t know. Even with all the advances in science, mankind is left with more questions than answers about space. At the same time, some of the things we know, are mind-boggling. Below, we have gathered a list of some of the most amazing facts about space that you might not know.
1. Space is completely silent.
Since there is no atmosphere in the vacuum of space, sound has no medium or way to travel to be heard. This is why astronauts use radios to stay in communication while they are in space, since radio waves can still be transmitted and received.
2. The footprints left on the moon by Apollo astronauts’ will remain there for at least 100 million years.
Since the moon has no atmosphere, there is no wind to alter the surface or water to wash the footprints away. This means that any footprints or prints left by rovers, spaceships and tools will remain there for millions of years.
3. If two pieces of the same type of metal touch in space, they will bond and be permanently stuck together.
This phenomenon is called cold welding and it occurs because the atoms of the individual pieces of metal have no way of knowing that they are different pieces of metal. So, they simply join to become one. On Earth, this won’t work because there is air and water molecules separating the pieces.
4. The universe consists of an uncountable number of stars.
Because of its sheer size, it is impossible to accurately predict just how many stars we have. Right now, scientists and astronomers estimate that there is between 200-400 billion stars just within our galaxy; the Milky Way. At the same time, there are estimated to be billions of galaxies, so the stars in space really are completely uncountable.
5. The sunset on Mars appears blue.
The sky on Mars is red, while its sunsets are blue. The reason behind this is similar to why our sky is blue and our sunsets are red. Also, at sunset, light has a longer distance to travel within the atmosphere on Mars, so it scatters more. Interestingly, Earth and Mars are the only two places in the Solar System that have sunsets that we can observe.
6. It can take 100,000 years for the average photon to travel from the Sun’s core to its surface.
At the same time, a photon of light takes only eight minutes to get to the Earth from the surface of the Sun.
7. More than 1,300 Earths could fit inside of Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system.
Jupiter is so big that all the other planets in the solar system could fit inside it. According to NASA, it would also take 11 Earths to cross Jupiter’s diameter.
8. It’s raining diamonds on Saturn and Jupiter.
According to scientists, on Jupiter and Saturn, it rains diamonds. Studies conducted on the gas giant found that carbon is abundant in its atmosphere. Lightning storms turn methane into soot which hardens into chunks of graphite and then diamond as it falls.
9. There is floating water in space.
Astronomers have discovered the largest body of water so far known, which is 140 trillion times the mass of water in the Earth’s oceans. It is however, located 10 billion light years away.
10. We’re able to have solar eclipses because the sun is exactly 400 times the size of the moon, but the moon is 400 times closer to Earth.
One of the most stunning natural phenomenons in the universe, occurs because the moon perfectly obscures the sun during a total eclipse. Scientists predict that because of the moon’s changing orbit, in about 50 million years, it will no longer blot out the sun perfectly.
11. Halleys comet won’t orbit past Earth again until 2061.
Halley’s Comet is arguably the most famous comet. The “periodic” comet returns to Earth’s vicinity every 75–76 years, which makes it possible for a human being to see it twice in their lifetime. The last time it zipped past Earth was in 1986, and it is projected to return in 2061.