DeepSpaceNews — I’ve always been fascinated with space exploration, by the mind-twisting realities of physics, and an “arm-chair” science nerd who, truthfully, never could have made it in the world of real calculus application.
But a lack of understanding of the “why” and “how” should not keep us exploring space.
Indeed, the next era of space exploration is already here, with SpaceX, Blue Origin, Boeing, ESA, NASA and countless others already in the race for retail space flight and other-globe colonization. Are you ready for lift off? I will be, as soon as I’m able to grasp the massiveness that is our universe of galaxies upon galaxies.
Would you believe 99 percent of our system’s mass is concentrated in the Sun.
- The Universe spans a diameter of over 150 billion light years.
- The Universe is 13.7 billion years old.
- The Universe is flat.
- The Universe’s expansion is accelerating.
- Some unified field theories suggest that in the ultra-hot primordial universe just after the Big Bang, the strong, weak, electromagnetic, and other forces were one, then unraveled as the cosmos expanded and cooled.
- For unification of forces to occur, there must be a new class of supermassive particles called gauge bosons.
- Observations show that dark matter DOES exist.
- There is no such thing as the Universe’s center.
- Every galaxy is expanding away from one another.
- There’s a giant cloud of alcohol in Sagittarius B.
- There’s a planet-sized diamond in Centaurus named after a Beatles song.
- It takes 225 million years for our Sun to travel around the galaxy.
- Due to gravitational effects, you weigh slightly less when the moon is directly overhead.
- The last time the Sun was in its current position in the galaxy, the super-continent Pangaea was just starting to break apart and early dinosaurs were making an appearance.
- Our solar system’s biggest mountain is on Mars, and it’s about three times the size of Mount Everest.
- The most energetic particles that strike us from space, which include neutrinos as well as gamma-ray photons and various other bits of subatomic shrapnel, are called cosmic rays.
- Uranus spins on its side.
- Uranus’s northern hemisphere enjoyed its last summer solstice in 1944 and will see it’s next winter solstice in 2028.
- Because of its unique tilt, a single night on Uranus lasts for 21 years.
- A year on Venus is shorter than its day.
- Triton, one of Neptune’s moons, is gradually getting closer to the planet it orbits.
- Since it’s discovery in 1846, Neptune has only completed one orbit of the Sun.
- Some scientists have speculated that at least some of the heaviest elements, such as gold and lead, are formed in powerful blasts that occur when two neutron stars—tiny, burned-out stellar corpses—collide and collapse into a black hole.
- A spoonful of neutron star weighs about a billion tons.
A soup can full of neutron star would weigh more than the Moon.
- There are more than 170 billion galaxies in the observable universe.
- Both dark matter and possibly dark energy originate from the earliest days of the universe, when light elements such as helium and lithium arose.
- A day on Mercury is equivalent to 58 Earth days, and a year is equivalent to 88 days.
- Several branches of mathematics, quantum mechanics, and astrophysics have all come to similar conclusions: our universe is just one of many and we actually exist in a ‘multiverse’.
- We are all made of stardust.
- A day on Pluto lasts for 6 days and 9 hours.
- On Venus, the Sun rises in the west and sets in the east.
If you ever stepped on the Moon your footprints would remain there forever.
- The Milky Way belongs to a cluster of 30 galaxies called the Local Group, which is 7 million light years across.
- The Virgo Cluster is 50 million light years away and is made up of 1,000 galaxies.
- One Million Earths Could Fit Inside The Sun.
- The moon is drifting away from Earth.
Einstein’s general theory of relativity says gravity isn’t so much a force as it is an inherent property of space and time.
- From space the brightest man made place is Las Vegas.
- There are more than 500,000 pieces of space junk floating around Earth.
- The Sun loses up to a billion kilograms a second due to solar winds.
- As big as the planet Saturn is, if you were to put it in a glass of water, it would float.
- 275 million new stars are born every day, according to estimates of astronomers.
- If one was to drive a car on one of the Saturn’s rings, at the speed of 100 km/h, it would take over 14 weeks to finish one lap.
Only about 15 percent of the matter in the universe is made of atoms. The remainder is dark matter.
- The universe appears to be cooling and may eventually freeze.
- The vacuum of space is not a true void: space is filled with low-grade energy created when virtual particles and their antimatter partners momentarily pop into and out of existence, leaving behind a very small field called vacuum energy.
- The Moon actually used to be a part of the Earth.
- The light hitting the earth right now is 30 thousand years old.
- All the planets in our solar system could fit inside Jupiter.
- Jupiter is known as the dumping ground for our solar system, as a large percentage of asteroids are pulled in by Jupiter’s gravity.
- There is a huge reservoir of water floating and orbiting in space, equivalent to about 140 trillion times all the water in the earth’s oceans and seas.
- The three galaxy types are elliptical, spiral and irregular. Our galaxy, the Milky Way, is a spiral galaxy.
- The Big Dipper is not a constellation, it is an asterism.
- Besides Pluto there are four other dwarf planets in our system: Ceres, Haumea, Makemake, and Eris.
- Mercury has no atmosphere, which means there is no wind or weather.
- Galaxies pass through each other all the time but because the stars are so spread out, the chances of them actually touching is very unlikely.
- There are four galaxies that can be seen from Earth with the naked eye: the Milky Way, the Andromeda Galaxy, and the Small and Large Magellanic Clouds.
The constellation of Cygnus, the Swan, contains the biggest star in the known universe – a hyper giant that’s almost a million times as big as the sun.
- The first artificial satellite in space was Sputnik.
- Black holes aren’t black.
- To describe a black hole, all you need is mass, angular momentum (if it’s spinning) and charge.
- Nothing comes out of a black hole except a slow trickle of thermal radiation called Hawking radiation.
- According to mathematics, white holes are possible.
- At the center of all black holes lies a point that is infinitely small and dense, called a singularity.
- “Moon” was Buzz Aldrin’s mother’s maiden name.
- The moon is 27% the size of the Earth.
- The Earth orbits the Sun not because it is attracted by gravity, but because it has been caught in a large dimple in space-time caused by the Sun, and it now spins around inside this dimple like a fast-moving marble caught in a large bowl.
- The original string-theory model of the universe combines gravity with the other three forces in a complex 11-dimensional world.
- The Earth’s revolution time increases .0001 seconds annually.
- According to the special theory of relativity, there is no such thing as a present, or a future, or a past.
- Any free-moving liquid in outer space will form itself into a sphere, because of its surface tension.
- The Big Bang happened everywhere at once.
- A light year is the distance covered by light in a single year, and is equivalent to 5.88 trillion miles (9.5 trillion KM).
- The Big Bang may not describe the actual beginning of everything.
- Quantum theory says virtual particles can pop into existence for the briefest of moments before returning to nothingness.
All matter is just energy.
- Einstein theorized that all matter alters the shape of space and time around it.
- Neutron stars can spin at a rate of 600 rotations per second.
- Pluto is smaller than the Earth’s moon.
- A black hole is eating the largest star in outer space.
In space, metal sticks together in a process called “cold welding.”
- Time moves forward because a property of the universe called “entropy.”
- More energy hits the Earth from the Sun every hour than the planet uses in a day.
- Mercury and Venus are the only two planets in our solar system that do not have any moons.
- The hottest planet in our solar system is Venus, not Mercury.
- Venus is the only planet that spins backwards relative to the other planets.
- A star located 750 light years from Earth is shooting water out of its north and south poles at an estimated rate of 124,000 miles per hour.
- Snoopy is the official safety mascot of NASA astronauts.
- String theorists argue that we can’t see extra dimensions because we lack instruments powerful enough to resolve them.
- As space has no gravity, normal pens won’t work.
- All together, Earth’s space travelers have spent just over 30,400 days (83 years) in space.
- In an environment like space with no gravity, astronauts do not need to use their feet to walk. As a result, the skin on the feet becomes soft and peels off.
- Astronauts cannot burp in space.
- Einstein’s theories of matter and space-time cannot explain what caused the hot primordial pinpoint of the universe to inflate into the universe we see today.
- We don’t know why the universe is full of matter.
- Fact: We are moving through space at the rate of 530km a second.
- An astronaut can be up to two-inches taller returning from space. That’s because the cartilage disks in the spine expand in the absence of gravity.
- The Space Station circles the earth every 90 minutes.
- Scientists estimate that our solar system will probably last another 5,000 million years.
- The odds of being killed by space debris is 1 in 5 billion.
- The question of why there is so much more matter than its oppositely-charged and oppositely-spinning twin, antimatter, is actually a question of why anything exists at all.
- The universe is dying.
For DeepSpaceNews, I’m Brian D. Colwell