5 facts about space that’ll blow you out of this world
There’s only so much we know about this vast, wondrous place. In conjunction with Discovery Channel’s Space Week starting 2 October, read on to learn about the secrets of our universe.
#1 It rains in the solar system—but not how you’d expect
Solar system debris rains down on Earth in the tons! Most of it vapourises with a stunning trail, which we wish upon as shooting stars. But fear not - most times, these comets and asteroids wander into interplanetary space between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter far off from Earth.
#2 The Sun could mess with your mobile connection
Beautiful, powerful and unpredictable. Take it from the biggest solar storm back in 1859. When solar flares were released from the Sun, they travelled through space at millions of miles per hour in the form of Northern Lights—which were seen as far south as Cuba. They caused telegraph systems to fail, and even gave operators electric shocks. If solar storms of this scale hit Earth again, they could knock out orbiting satellites, shake up global telecommunications, and leave us all out of power!
#3 Total solar eclipses may be a thing of the past
A biannual astronomical event—the Moon appears to pass in front of the Sun to create a partial solar eclipse or total solar eclipse. However, solar eclipses are slowly disappearing as the moon’s orbit increases about 1.5 inches every year. In the next 600 million years, the moon would have moved so much so that it will no longer be big enough to entirely cover the Sun.
#4 Only an hour away—you could drive to space!
Determined by the speed of a space vehicle and its altitude above the earth, Hungarian-American physicist Theodore von Kármán found the start of space—the Karman Line—to be only 100km above Earth’s sea level. That’s the distance of running 250 laps around an Olympic track!
#5 Contrary to popular belief, Neil Armstrong’s footprints won’t be on the Moon forever
Unlike on Earth, the Moon is not subjected to wind or water erosion due to its lack of atmosphere and frozen surface water. However, solar winds, a stream of charged particles from the sun, will allow Armstrong’s footprints to be on the Moon for at least the next hundred million years until the rocks eventually erode.