Space is the vacuum that hosts our solar system – The Sun, Planets, and other objects.
It is so large that if a spacecraft were to venture very far away, it would arrive at a region known as interstellar space, from where the sun would cease to have effect in material and magnetic field.
Interstellar space separates star systems. At the end of our solar system, in the interstellar medium, is a region called the heliosphere, and at its outermost edge is the heliopause
There is Zero Gravity in Space
Zero Gravity, sometimes called Zero-G or weightlessness is a state in which gravitational force is zero. Astronauts in outer space float as a result of Zero-G as seen in the image below.
As appealing as it might seem, Zero-G poses severe risk to health. Since the human body is accustomed to Gravity we would not survive for long under Zero-G. Common ailments associated with Zero-G include:
- Muscle & Bone Weakness
Distance is Measured in Light Years
A light year in space refers to the distance travelled by light in one year. It is approximately very large when converted to kilometers.
1 Light Year = 9.4607305 x 1012 Kilometers
Approximately, it is around 9,500,000,000,000 kilometers.
The Enormous distance between objects in space explains why space travel is yet to be realized.
The speed of light is approximately 299,792km per second. Hence, if a spacecraft should travel at this speed, it would take minutes to reach a light year, and possibly reach mars considering its distance from earth. Even at that, no human traveling at such speed is likely to survive.
Yet, at the moment nothing travels faster than light. Although the Fastest Spacecraft launched is NASA’s New Horizons, which became the first to visit Pluto in 2015.
There are Earth-Like Planets
Few months ago, astronomers discovered a new “super-earth” – a planet, which in mass, is larger than earth, and smaller than the gas giants (Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus).
The exoplanet (not in our solar system, orbits another star) named GJ 357d is believed by scientists to have water (the substance of life) on its surface.
K2 -18b, another super Earth, has been thought of as being habitable, owing to the evidence of water in its atmosphere.
Since space is vast, and as we are yet to reach all galaxies, we would expect to find other planets like earth, or possible an exact replica (or even better) of earth.
Venus is the hottest planet in solar system
Notwithstanding its position in the solar system, Venus is hellishly hot.
As Mercury is the closest to the sun, you would expect it to be the hottest. Yet, Venus, due to its thicker atmosphere, which includes carbon dioxide, nitrogen and sulfuric acid, traps heat.
Mercury, on other hand has a thin atmosphere with small amounts of hydrogen, helium, and oxygen.
Should Venus lose its advantageous atmosphere, then the title of hottest would probably go to Mercury.
Mars is Earth’s Target for Colonization
For some time now, human colonization of mars has been one of the subjects of astronomy.
Mars, often referred to as the ‘Red Planet’ is next to earth in the solar system. Yet its distance is incredibly far (millions of kilometre). Hence, Human Colonization could be reserved specially for those who can afford the overall costs.
In 1993, NASA, formed the Mars Exploration Program, a long term initiative to explore the red planet. The program is to discover the feasibility of life on the planet along with its natural resources and climatic conditions.
Nevertheless, should space technology evolve, and space travel becomes as easy as booking a flight, then terraforming of mars surface would be needed to make the living conditions on mars suitable for humans.
Black Holes are Creepy
A black hole is an object in space with a very strong gravitational pull that nothing within close range can escape. As a result of its immense gravitational pull, it reflects no light i.e it absorbs photons.
Black holes are formed from the death of stars. A star that runs out of the essential nuclear fuel collapses and a deep gravitational warp is formed.
A black hole in our solar system could devastate the orbits of the planets along with the sun.
Gravitational Time Dilation Causes Age Differences
Assume there are two twins on earth, send one into space, put the person at the edge of an object with massive gravity, like a black hole, and if you can, observe what happens.
Notwithstanding the gravitational effect, if the twin, one way or the other, manages to pull through, then pending on the arrival, the other twin on earth, would have aged significantly more. This phenomenon is known as gravitational time dilation.
In this, perhaps in the nearest future, a father would leave his child on earth, go to space, return to have his child as age mate, or even older than him.
Asteroids are Lurking
They are, by definition, large rocky bodies orbiting the sun, most of which are found in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
There are millions of asteroids in the belt, with Ceres being the largest.
However, Asteroids do not stay on their own, they sometimes hurtle and hit planets, causing devastation on impact.
The Chicxulub asteroid was found buried underneath the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. It was evidenced to have wiped out the dinosaurs 66 million years ago.
Although, there might have been undocumented cases before the incident, as the light of Chicxulub impact was brought forward upon its discovery.
Hopefully, before an asteroid hurtles towards earth, space technology would have evolved to such an extent as to clamp it down, without or causing less debris to scatter in the atmosphere.
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