Space is pretty incredible. Have you ever stopped for a moment to think about this bizarre place that is right above our heads?
The sheer vastness of it, undiscovered planets, mysterious moons, strange phenomena that are literally out of this world, trillions upon trillions of objects within billions of galaxies in this universe that is almost incomprehensible to the human mind.
Space sure sounds like a place that is both frightening yet fascinating. There is a bucket load of things about space that are still unknown to mankind, but we’re getting there, slowly but surely.
1) Space is not that far away
The boundary between Earth’s atmosphere and outer space is known as the Karman line, which lies at an altitude of 100km above sea level. That’s not very far away because technically, if you could drive your car upwards, you’d be in space in less than an hour!
2) Footprints on the moon will remain there forever
The moon essentially has no atmosphere, which means there is no water to wash the footprints away nor is there wind to tear away the surface. The traces of the Apollo exploration will be around for ten to 100 million years until the rocks eventually erode at a rate of approximately 0.04 inches every one million years. That’s in scientific terms, but in human terms, it’s practically forever lah
3) You are actually not alone
We're not talking about aliens. There are over 100 billion stars in our galaxy, the Milky Way, alone. In the observable universe (in theory, what can be seen from Earth), there is an estimated total of 70 billion stars. In other words, there are more stars in the universe than grains of sand on every single beach on the face of the Earth. Yup, let that sink in a little bit.
4) Asteroids are not the only things that hit Earth
There are more than 100 tonnes of material from asteroids and comets that fall toward Earth every day. But don’t panic just yet, most of them would be destroyed by friction as it passes through Earth’s atmosphere. Otherwise, we’d be getting hit every day! But if something does actually hit the ground (which is very rare), it is known as a meteorite. We all know this, right?
5) Solar storms can happen
You probably thought that the Sun is just a bright shining star that never changes. But in actual fact, it is a huge ball of molten gasses that is constantly in flux. So when a solar storm happens, the Sun emits huge bursts of energy in the form of solar flares and coronal mass ejections.
This would send a stream of electrical charged plasma that travel at millions of miles per hour! And when the streams hit Earth, it can cause geomagnetic storms that destroy satellites and electrical power grids. However, there is essentially no danger to humans. So once again, don’t panic!
6) Total solar eclipses won’t be around forever
Scientists predict that in about 600 million years (if the human race is still around), total solar eclipses will cease to exist due to the moon’s increasing orbit. According to NASA, the moon will have moved far away from Earth by then that it will no longer be big enough to cover the sun entirely. The moon’s orbit is increasing at a rate of about 1.5 inches each year.
It’s quite amazing, isn’t it? There are plenty more where that came from. So if you’re intrigued to explore and uncover more secrets of this universe we’re in, tune in to Discovery Channel’s
(Astro Ch 551) epic ‘Space Week’
Come and celebrate in the name of space, science and technology beginning 2 October onwards until 6 October, Monday to Friday at 9pm
. The series starts with the premiere of How to Survive An Asteroid Strike
, followed by Death on a Comet: The Rosetta Mission
, The Dark Side of the Sun
, Moon Shots
, and Hubble’s Enduring Legacy
So don’t miss this chance to explore the hardest-hitting questions about space!