What is Space?
We know that you are curious about space facts but it is important to know about what is space. Space is the area present beyond the Earth’s atmosphere. It is in this area that we find planets, galaxies, solar systems, stars, asteroids, etc.
We live in space and hence we should know some space facts for fun or studies. It is so vast that it hosts trillions of stars, countless galaxies, and nearly innumerable planets. However, it is only the visible universe. Scientists agree that there is much more to explore the unknown universe than we can ever imagine. So, let us learn more about space in today’s article . Let us begin.
Space Facts 1-10
1. Space doesn’t really begin at a particular height above our planet. The commonly used definition is the Kármán line which is at 100 kilometers of our atmosphere.
2. The largest crewed object present in space is the International Space Station.
3. It is actually a hard vacuum i.e., it is a void that contains very little matter.
4. Spacecraft visited all the planets of the solar system.
5. The age of the universe is 13.8 billion years. Since its inception (due to Big Bang), it has been expanding.
6. There are nearly 2 trillion galaxies in the visible or known universe.
7. There are around hundred to four hundred billion stars in our Milky Way galaxy.
8. There is no sound in space because the molecules are situated so far away from each other that they can’t transmit sound. However, it is not completely silent. Radio waves can be sent and received!
9. The space present between galaxies is not empty. On an average, there is one atom per one cubic meter.
10. A volcano on Mars is three times the size of Mount Everest. Olympus Mons is a volcano on Mars that is 600 kilometers wide and twenty-one kilometers high. It is the tallest mountain of all the planets of the solar system. Asteroid Vesta’s Rheasilvia central peak (22 kilometer high) is taller than Mount Olympus by 1 kilometer. The base of Mount Olympus is the size of Arizona!
Space Facts 11-20
12. Dwarf planet Ceres is considered as the largest asteroid. It is present in the Asteroid Belt present between Mars and Jupiter. It was discovered by an Italian astronomer, Giuseppe Piazzi in the year 1801. It is 965 kilometers or 600 miles wide. However, it is the smallest dwarf planet of the solar system.
13. Did you know that there is a huge water vapor cloud in space? It holds 140 trillion times the mass of water present in the seven oceans of the Earth. It is around 10 billion light years away.
14. If two pieces of the same metal or material collide with each other in space then they will permanently bond. It is called cold welding. In this the atoms of the two pieces have no idea of understanding that they are separate. This phenomenon doesn’t happen on Earth because there is water and air present between the pieces.
15. The Milky Way galaxy and Andromeda galaxy will collide in the next 3.75 billion years. The Andromeda galaxy is approaching our galaxy at a speed of 110 kilometers per second or 68 miles per second!
16. There is a planet called 55 Cancri e. Its radius is twice as Earth’s and mass is eight times that of Earth’s mass. According to a research conducted by Yale University, the surface of this planet is made up of diamond and graphite. It is forty light years away from the Earth but is visible to the naked eye. It is present in the Cancer constellation.
17. The entire NASA space suit costs $12,000,000 only. 70% of the cost is for the control module and the backup.
18. The densest and tiniest starts in the known universe are the neutron stars. They have a radius of around 10 kilometers or 6 miles but their mass is few times greater than the Sun. Not just that they can rotate up to sixty times per second after they are born and later can rotate around 600-712 times per second. They are born from core-collapse supernova star explosions.
19. Toy Story’s Buzz Lightyear spent 15 months on the International Space Station. He returned to Earth on 11 September 2009.
20. Halley’s comet will pass through Earth again on 26 July 2061. The comet was discovered by Edmond Halley in 1705. It was last seen on 9 February 1986.
Space Facts 21-30
21. There are five recognized dwarf planets in our solar system. They are Ceres, Pluto, Eris, Makemake, and Haumea.
22. The Chinese notice the Halley’s comet as early as 240 BCE. After 164 BCE it was noted every time it was visible.
23. Comet’s central region is called the nucleus and the streams of dust seen behind the comet are called a tail or a coma.
24. There are 88 recognized star constellations in our sky.
25. Light takes only 1.3 seconds to reach Earth from the Moon. The distance between the planet and the satellite is 238,855 miles or 384,400 kilometers.
26. Normal pens work with the help of gravity. The ink from the refill flows down to the nib due to gravity. Since gravity is absent in space, pens don’t work there.
27. The gravitational force of Jupiter is so strong that a large percent of asteroids, comets, etc. are pulled in by Jupiter.
28. The red spot on Jupiter is three times that of Earth but it is shrinking as you are reading these space facts.
29. Red dwarf is a star that is smaller and cooler than other stars. It is the late stage of its life. The surface temperature of a red dwarf is about 7200 K. They can burn continuously for 10 trillion years.
30. The Milky Way galaxy is known as ‘Silver River’ in China. In Japan and Korea the Silver River is referred to as galaxies in general.
Space Facts 31-40
31. Gennady Padalka spent more time in space than any other human. He is an astronaut of Russian Federal Space Agency (RKA). He spent 879 days in space. He worked on both the International Space Station and Mir.
32. Everyone heard about NASA but do you know what NASA stands for? It stands for National Aeronautics and Space Administration. It was established in 1958 by the United States Federal Government.
33. The word astronaut comes from two Greek words – astron meaning star and nautes meaning sailor. So, an astronaut is a star sailor.
34. The first live mammal to go into space was Laika, a stray dog. Russians sent her on Sputnik 2 on 3 November 1957. Unfortunately, she died 5-7 hours into flight due to stress and overheating.
35. Earth is 81 times heavier than the Moon.
36. Thanks to the lack of gravity, astronauts can’t burp in space. It happens because air can’t get separated from the food and rise up.
37. The only planet that could float in water is Saturn. It is also the lightest planet. It could float in water because it is made of gas (mostly).
38. Mercury is still shrinking and contracting 4.5 billion years after the solar system was formed.
39. Comets are leftover matter after the creation of the solar system. They are made up of carbon dioxide, ice, and sand.
40. Chimpanzees, dogs, guinea pigs, and monkeys have travelled to space.
Space Facts 41-50
41. Earth’s axis changes with time. This phenomenon is called Precession. The change in the axis is very slow and gradual. Due to precession, in about 13,000 years, Polaris won’t remain our Pole Star. The star Vega will become our Pole Star. One cycle of precession takes 26,000 years.
42. Iapetus, one of Saturn’s moons, has a two tone coloration. One side of the moon is darker than the other side. Such an occurrence is not seen in any other moon in the solar system. The reason for such two-tone coloration is the moon is present way outside of Saturn’s rings and hence it gets hit by space debris. The collision creates those dark areas on Iapetus.
43. Earth receives more energy from the Sun in one hour than the planet uses in a whole year.
44. As the Moon doesn’t have any atmosphere, there is no wind or water that can wipe out the footprints, spaceship prints, and roverprints. These prints and discarded materials will stay as is for nearly millions of years. However, micrometeorites keep bombarding the surface of the Moon which will eventually lead to erosion. But the rate of erosion is very slow.
45. If you stand on the equator of Mars, the temperature at your feet would be warm but the temperature near your head will be freezing cold.
46. If you combine all the known asteroids of the solar system, their total mass will not even be 10% of the mass of the Moon.
47. Valles Mariners is the largest canyon system in the solar system. It is around 4,000 kilometers or 3,000 miles long. It is nine times longer and four times deeper than the Earth’s Grand Canyon.
48. Io, one of Jupiter’s moons, is the most volcanically active celestial body in the entire solar system. Its bloated yellowish surface resembles pepperoni pizza.
49. The craters of the south pole of Moon may be the coldest areas of the solar system. The daytime temperatures may not rise above -238 degrees Celsius or -397 degrees Fahrenheit.
50. The center of the Milky Way galaxy smells like rum and tastes like raspberries. How do we know you ask? This information was discovered by IRAM radio telescope when it focussed on a gas cloud called Sagittarius B2. IRAM detected ethyl formate which gives rum its characteristic smell and raspberries their flavor.