These Facts About Space Exporation Blew My Mind

June 18, 2020

Check out this article if you're interested in learning more about Space Exploration

  • Voyager 1 has a 22.4 watt radio transmitter. By the time that signal gets to us it has been reduced to about one-tenth of a billionth of a billionth of a watt for us to detect.

  • See the images of gravity and imagine a wave less than the width of an atom. That’s what the scanners are detecting. It still blows my mind.

  • We have sent several probes through Saturn's rings without concern because the debris is so far spaced apart. If you were to be flying through Saturn's rings, it would not look terribly different than the night sky here on Earth. The rocks from the debris would simply appear as small points of light like stars.

  • There is more ways to configure a deck of cards than there is stars in the Universe.

  • In 1969 the technology to put a man on the moon existed, however the camera and film technology needed to fake the moon landings didn't.

  • The center of the Milky Way is LOADED with bright stars but we can't see 99.9999% of them. Our night sky would be way, way, way brighter if not for the Great Rift and associated dust and gas clouds blocking out their light.

  • If the Sun were to somehow vanish, and all of its mass with it, we would still orbit it the vanished star for nearly 500 seconds, or until we see the Sun blink out in the sky. This is because the speed of light has nothing to do with the light, but rather with the speed of causality in our Universe. It's like there's a lightbulb at the center of our galaxy and a lampshade around it.

  • I like talking about how when they sent the New Horizons probe to Pluto. They didn't shoot it at Pluto, but rather where it was going to be in 9.5 years. I think it gives a good perspective on how much we can determine with the scientific method, especially since Pluto still hasn't gone around the sun once since we discovered it.

  • We're all made of stardust, but so is garbage, so don't get full of yourself.

  • Not space related, but 2049 is closer to now than 1990.

  • Hydrogen (more specifically Deuterium) first made it's appearance around 10 minutes after the big bang. Then eventually Helium isotopes around 10 minutes later.

  • On one of the Apollo missions, the rocket was struck with lightning and grounded itself via its fuel plume. The electronics were fried and nobody on ground control knew what was going on. The data they were getting was all over the place. One guy happened to remember a scenario they did about a year ago and said "Switch SCE to AUX". You can hear someone say "What the h*ll does that mean?" (Or something to that effect).They switch the SCE (or signal conditioning equipment) to auxiliary and everything is fine. That guy single handedly saved the mission.

  • Take a look at the Big Dipper. See the middle star of the handle? Well, that's really two stars: Mizar and Alcor. Alcor is very faint and was (allegedly) used to test people's eyesight in ye olden days. But those two stars? Well, Mizar, the bright one, that's really FOUR stars, all orbiting each other in a quadruple system. And Alcor, the faint guy, that's really two stars in a binary system. So there are six stars in the middle of the handle of the Big Dipper. And they're about a third of a light year away from each other

  • Unconfirmed theory, believe I heard it on Neil degrasse Tyson’s podcast. If you were being sucked into a black hole and could somehow stop, turn around and look back out into space you could see the entire future of the universe play out before your eyes due to time dilation. You could watch the birth and death of stars in the blink of an eye.

  • If you fold a piece of 0.099mm-thick paper 103 times, the thickness of the paper will be larger than the observable Universe: 93 billion light-years, to be exact.

  • Voyager 1, in case it is encountered by extraterrestrials, is carrying photos of life on earth, greeting in 55 languages, and a collection of music from Gregorian chants to Chuck Berry. Including “Dark was the night (Cold was the Ground)” by 20’s Bluesman, Blind Willie Johnson, whose stepmother blinded him at 7 by throwing lye in his eyes after his father beat her for being with another man. He died, penniless, of pneumonia after sleeping bundled in wet newspaper in the ruins of his house that burned down. But his music just left the Solar System.

  • The reason why so many things in the universe travel at the speed of light - all electromagnetic waves and even gravitational effects - is because the speed of light is actually the speed of causality, the speed at which cause and effect become one. Going faster than this speed would be travelling back in time.

  • The Aestivation Hypothesis: Advanced alien life might be inactive until the universe gets colder, because computation becomes more efficient as the cosmic background temperature decreases. 1030 times more efficient, in fact, meaning you can eventually do the same amount of computation with an Earth-sized computer as you could do today with a universe-sized computer.

  • When a photon is created and speeds against the universe because it is going at the speed of light it experiences time dillation. We may see it take millions or billions of years to reach us from our relative perspective but to the photon, the moment it came into life, it ended its life at almost the exact same time. No matter how long it looks to take that beam of light to reach you, the beam of light thought it just came into existence and then ended it right away. Light experiences no passage of time.

  • There are more planets in the universe than all the grains of sands on earth

  • Light is created inside the very core of the Sun. It takes these photons millions of years to reach the surface of the Sun. Light interact with everything. This voyage to the top, this odyssey, is called a "random walk" in astrophysics. Once photons reach space, they take about 8 minutes to reach your eyes

  • Space is closer than you think, and the international space station is the equivalent of a 4 hour car drive straight up.

  • There's two factors of time dilation, gravitational but also relative velocity. As you travel faster, you actually age slower, which is the reason astronauts age more slowly as they travel around the Earth at such a high speed, rather than faster as you might imagine because of gravitational time dilation since they're further from the Earth. (The relative velocity time dilation has more of an effect than the gravitational time dilation)

  • There's a dwarf planet named Haumea in the outer solar system that's so elongated by rapid spinning that it's almost frisbee shaped -- approximately two thousand kilometers in two dimensions but only one thousand kilometers in the third.

  • Between galaxies, there is less than one atom per cubic meter.

  • Easily the most mind-blowing realization for me was understanding where the CMB (Cosmic Microwave Background) came from. There is microwave radiation all over the universe, but it wasn't always microwave! Shortly after the Big Bang, the universe was a big, glowing, dense plasma. Bright. Like brighter than we can imagine bright. Since the universe itself is expanding, so is the light. What was once photons have had their wavelengths stretched out with the expansion of time and space - and is currently in the form of microwaves. That's why it's everywhere.

  • I always thought it was pretty amazing that the emergency landing site for if something went wrong in the first few minutes of a space shuttle launch from Cape Canaveral, FL was located in Spain.

  • If every conceivable bitcoin private address was represented by a single particle of flour that is a perfect cube then the space required to fit them would requre the equivalent of 8 milky way galaxies wide by 8 milky way galaxies high.

  • The circumference of a black hole is not its diameter times pi. It’s diameter is much larger than C/(pi), because spacetime is warped near its center.

  • There's a group of asteroids called the "Hildas" that orbit the Sun in a triangular shape. Yes, they form a triangular ring around the Sun.

  • Crossing the Milky Way to the other end and back at the speed of light takes as long as humans have existed as a distinct species.

  • There is a neutron star that spins 716 times per second. At it's equator, it's spinning roughly 24% the speed of light.

  • All the stars in all the galaxies are getting further and further apart and eventually one day in the far distant future their light rays will cease to be visible.

  • There’s nothing in space. I mean there’s no air, no gas, nothing. It’s vacuum, empty, nothing. The true meaning of nothing. That alone still blows my mind. I’m a simple man.

  • In 2004, a giant "Starquake" coming from a magnetar (A neutron star on steroids) released in 200 miliseconds the equivalent of the energy produced by the Sun in 250,000 years.

  • The first law of geography is that every thing is related, but objects that are closer together are more related than objects that are farther apart. These relationships are things like parcels contained within counties contained within states contained within countries. To put it in terms of outer space, our planet is contained in this solar system in this galaxy in this nebula (etc etc). So to the farest extent of the universe there is a form of spatial relation. But then it just ends. The universe has no spatial context. Is it contained within a larger void?

  • Space smells like burned matter. This makes total sense since it originates from an explosion. You can essentially smell the Big Bang.

  • There are more rouge planets drifting in interstellar space then there are stars in the known universe.

  • That earths orbit is elliptical and not circular, which is why we have seasons. Surprisingly simple fact but a lot of people aren't aware of it.

  • Everyone knows that much of the light reaching earth from space is from stars that may have died a long time ago, but what some people often overlook is that all the stars you see in a single gaze are an incredible range of distances from earth. With one look, you are looking through millions of years of time, and taking it all in at the same moment.

  • Time takes space to propagate. Before the Big Bang, there was no space therefore, no time.

  • That if you could stand on a planet that's many light years away from earth with a figuratively infinitely powered telescope looking at earth, you would be able to see back in time depending on the distance in light years from your position to earth, cos the light from a long time ago on earth will only just be reaching your planet.

  • In a black hole, the gravity is so strong that time slows down significantly. Scientists theorize that deep within a black hole, there is practically no time.

  • If you can fold a piece of paper 42 times, it'll reach the moon.

  • Not really a space fact, but when a hydrogen bomb detonates, every element in the universe, and then some, are created in the centre.

  • If all of the planets in our solar system were lined up, with their surfaces touching, they would fit in the space between the earth and the moon.

  • 6 Quadrillion 520 Trillion Earth volumes make up the same volume as the largest known Star, UY Scuti.

  • The Moon has less square mileage on its surface than Russia.

  • The light that comes from our sun is white in space, not yellow.

  • There's no atmosphere in space, and space ships can't bank or turn like you see in Star Wars or Star Trek.

  • There are more trees on Earth than stars in the Milky Way.

  • If the Andromeda Galaxy was brighter it would show up in the sky six times wider than the moon.

  • Every star you see is actually just in our own galaxy. It's kind of obvious once you really think about it, you can only see other galaxies as ghostly blobs in the right low-light conditions, but it's still mind-blowing to me.

  • You are a few (hundred?) kilometers away from where you were when you began reading this sentence.

  • A lot of people still can't comprehend that it takes time for light to travel, and that the light from other stars can be millions of years old when you see it.

  • A company called SpaceX can launch a rocket roughly the size of the Clock Tower (in TST, Hong Kong) to space, then have the satellite(s) separate from it to float around space, then adjust its falling angle to aim at a barge roughly the size of a football field, then land on the X mark of the barge upright, and to be reused at a later time, just like how we reuse a 747 after flying from one city to another.

  • When Carl Sagan was discussing the universe, he said "Of course, it may be a single electron in a much larger structure." Now that's thinking big!

  • The density of gas inside the stellar envelope of red supergiant stars (think Betelgeuse) is less dense than not only the air on Earth, but also the best vacuums we can achieve on earth. Yes, that's gas inside a star. Really goes to show how relative density is in the universe. Conversely, the density at the cores of the most massive stars is as much as 30 million grams per cubic centimeter.

  • At the dinner table: “The fork and knife you’re using for dinner are made from steel. Steel contains iron. Iron is only made at the very core of stars. Because iron requires a ton of gravitational pressure to be created. You are holding in your hand right now, pieces from the center of a star.”

  • Given that Earth orbits the Sun, the Sun orbits the center of the Milky Way, the Milky Way races around the Virgo Supercluster, and the Virgo Supercluster screams across the universe, not only were the Pyramids of Giza build 4,500 years ago, they were build about 10 light-years away from where they are now.

  • NASA has the 2nd highest return on investment for govement spending. Right after interstate highways.

  • Gravity on the ISS is about the same as on the surface of the earth. (90% earths surface gravity) The reason astronauts fall, is because the ISS is in a state of constant free fall. Turns out the ISS is moving at about 17,000 miles an hour and keeps itself from hitting the planet by traversing the circumference of the earth so quickly it "misses" the Earth during its "fall"

  • It's called the dark side because radio communication with Earth is impossible. Dark in the signal sense. The side of the moon facing away from Earth receives the same amount of light as the side facing Earth, just at different times.

  • Venus is beyond toxic! Sure, the dense fog of sulfuric acid would get to you pretty badly, but there's also intense heat and air pressure. A human on the surface would turn into a fuming goopy pancake. Think putting an iron skillet on high heat, then tossing in a marshmallow peep and smashing it down with a spatula.

  • The nearest stars light besides our own takes 10,000 years to arrive, so if for some reason all the visible stars in the galaxy disappeared we would have no idea for 10,000 years. For all we know, they could have disappeared 9,000 years ago

  • A hundred years ago, Einstein came out with the theory of relativity that ultimately predicts that gravity travelled at the speed of light. Only was it a year or two ago that scientists discovered the physical proof that it happened, via gravitational waves. Check out LIGO/advanced LIGO.

  • NASA was voted into existence by the Congress, its funding comes from a small portion of the US national budget. NASA, a civilian agency, was always involved with the US army(early astronauts, security and surveillance). NASA is not a private anything, the government has a lot to say in it.

  • Black holes have no means of dissipating thermal energy, but generate mass quantities of it from their strong gravitational field and they are likely incredibly hot. We can't detect this though because that thermal energy isn't escaping from the gravity well.

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