Space is really out there! The things we’ve come to learn in the last few decades and centuries about the void that surrounds our delightful little planet are pretty mind blowing! Here are 10 facts that seemed especially wild!
The Solar System is middle aged
Scientists have estimated that our solar system is about 4.6 billion years old, which they think makes it middle aged (as far as solar system lifetimes go). The solar system will probably continue on for another 5 billion years before the sun becomes a red giant, swallows Mercury, Venus, and the Earth, and then eventually collapses into a white dwarf.
In space, no one can hear anything
Space is completely silent, despite what you might have seen on Star Wars. Sound waves require some kind of medium to travel through. Sound waves do not travel through the vacuum of space. Radio waves are able to travel through space though, so if you ever find yourself in space, just radio in and we’ll hear you.
Something strange is eating the galaxy
Here’s something a little unnerving: some unidentified thing that’s larger than anything we’ve ever discovered is slowly eating the Milky Way galaxy. Scientists call it the “dark flow” phenomenon. But you know, it’s probably fine. For now.
The Universe is probably going to explode at some point
One theory, called the “Big Rip” theory, suggests that a few billion years in the future, “dark energy” could become so powerful that it shreds all matter in the universe down to atomic and subatomic particles, eventually even tearing space-time itself apart. Yikes.
There’s a lot of water in space
About 12 billion light years away from us exists a gigantic water vapor cloud. It’s 100,000 times larger than the sun and holds 140 trillion times more water than all of the oceans on our planet. We’ve all heard of fresh spring water, but space water would be out of this world!
Time travel might be possible but…
It’d be a huge pain to try and do it. You’d have to build an enormous particle accelerator in space that would stabilize space-time foam, then enlarge a wormhole and connecting it to a gravitational field. Who has time for all that? Someone with a time machine maybe. Hmm.
The Earth keeps gaining weight
Every day, about 100 tons of space stuff ends up falling to the surface of the Earth, increasing its weight by about 100 tons a day. Hey, it’s tough to lose weight when you have a gravitational pull.
You can probably get electricity from space
Tesla theorized that if you stuck a rod deep enough into space, the sheer temperature difference between the vacuum of space and the Earth would create an electrical current that could run a motor. It’s certainly possible, though probably not worth the trouble just to run one motor.
There’s big bucks in space
Space exploration has a pretty impressive return on investment. For every dollar invested in space exploration, about eight dollars of economic activity is created. That’s not a bad investment!
Big planets are possessive
If our planet was just 50% larger, the gravitational pull of the planet would likely make it impossible for us to venture into space at all. If we choose at some point to begin landing people on larger planets, it may be a one-way mission.