13 quick facts about space

Fun facts

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Dark and mysterious, space definitely remains one big unknown to us terrestrial beings 

Despite advancing explorations beyond Earth, space is still largely a mystery to us. From near-Earth to distant out space, it never ceases to fascinate us. We have put together a few fun facts about space that we think are worth knowing about.

1. Footprints on the moon will stay for millions of years

Footprints on the moon may stay there for millions of yearsFootprints on the moon may stay there for millions of years — NASA

It’s been over 50 years since Neil Armstrong stepped with his left foot onto the surface of the moon, and his footprints are still there. There’s no weather, wind, or water to disturb them, so they could remain there undisturbed for millions of years.

2. Some planets have no surface to land on

There are four gas giants in our solar system — Jupiter, Saturn, Uran, Neptune — where it wouldn’t be possible to land on. Although different in composition, a gas giant is usually made out of hydrogen and helium and has a small rocky center.

3. How far did humanity travel in space?

Voyager 1 has been flying through space for almost 44 yearsVoyager 1 has been flying through space for almost 44 years — NASA

Both Voyager 1 and 2 are space probes launched to explore the solar system in 1977 and have been in space now for almost 44 years. 

Voyager 1 is now 152.5 AU away from our sun which makes it the furthest human-made object from Earth. In 2012 it reached interstellar space.

4. Pieces of the same metal will permanently merge in space

An effect known as cold welding, if two pieces of the same metal material touch in space, they will be pulled together to form one object. However, metal is coated with an oxide layer that would first have to be removed for the pieces to merge into one.

5. There are interstellar objects passing through our solar system

ʻOumuamua means scout in HawaiianʻOumuamua means scout in Hawaiian — Wikimedia Commons

The first interstellar object (ISO) was detected in 2017 and called ʻOumuamua (it gets its name from the Hawaiian word “scout”). It is a small red object (no longer than 1,000 meters and wider than 167 meters) that formed in a different star system. It travels about 500 million miles per year and will re-enter interstellar space in the late 2030s.

6. Saturn would float in water

Hypothetically, that’s true. Saturn’s less dense than water which means that if put in a very large bowl of water, it would float. However, as Saturn is a gaseous planet, placing it in water would probably just dissolve the gases and its small rocky center would sink to the bottom of the bowl.

7. Jupiter has at least 79 moons

Ganymede is Jupiter’s biggest moon with a diameter of 5,268 km (3,273.4 mi)Ganymede is Jupiter’s biggest moon with a diameter of 5,268 km (3,273.4 mi) — Wikimedia Commons

Not only the largest planet in our solar system, Jupiter also has the most moons in its orbit. So far, scientists have discovered 79 moons, including the biggest one in the solar system — Ganymede with a diameter of 5,268 km (3,273.4 mi).

8. It would take 9.5 years to walk to the moon 

With a distance of 400,000 kilometers (250,000 miles) from Earth, at an average pace, it would take over 83,000 hours, or 9.5 years, to walk to the moon.

9. Exoplanet that rains glass sideways

This exoplanet rains glass sidewaysThis exoplanet rains glass sideways — Wikimedia Commons

A large exoplanet HD 189733 b’s bright blue color might look pretty from far off but its weather is deadly. The atmosphere contains silicate particles which cause it to rain molten glass and with the winds reaching speeds of 8,700 kph (5,400 mph), the glass rains sideways!

10. Temperature of outer space is close to absolute zero 

The temperature in space depends on how empty it is. With atoms having vast distances between one another, the heat won’t get transferred easily and life comes to an almost standstill point.

The average temperature in areas of empty space is minus 270.15 C (minus 457.87 F). This temperature is not far from absolute zero, measured at minus 273.15 C (minus 459.67 F).

11. Sun makes up 99.8 percent of the solar system’s mass

The sun makes up 99.8 percent of our entire solar system’s massThe sun makes up 99.8 percent of our entire solar system’s mass — Wikimedia Commons

The sun is so large that it would fit one million planet Earth inside of it. It makes up 99.8 percent of our entire solar system’s mass and holds everything within it together thanks to its gravity, from the smallest particles to the biggest planets. Despite its huge mass, the star is just a ball of hot gas and would be impossible to stand on.

12. Nearly 6,000 satellites orbit Earth

 

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It’s getting pretty busy up there with almost 6,000 satellites orbiting our planet. However, out of these, only about 40 percent are operational.

13. More black holes than we can count

Astrophysicists have estimated there is one black hole for every thousand stars that exist. Considering the average number of stars in a galaxy and the estimated number of galaxies in the observable universe, that makes a truly astronomical figure of 10 quadrillion (or 10 followed by 15 zeros) black holes in the entire universe!

Did you enjoy reading about space? Find more fun facts on Kiwi.com Stories.