26 Totally Amazing Space Facts

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William the Conquerors Stomach Exploded

1 If Two Pieces Of Metal Touch In Space They Stick Together

two pieces of metal touch in space

Wow, I love science. It manages to throw amazing little gem up nearly every day. This just happens to be one of them. If two pieces of metal touch in space, that’s two identical pieces, such as two pieces of copper or two pieces of iron, they will stick together as if they were welded. Well, not as if they were welded, exactly the same, if not better than if they were welded. The process that causes this phenomenon is called cold welding.

Cold welding was discovered in the 1940’s. As the name suggests, it’s the process of welding two pieces of metal together without any heat. With normal welding, two pieces of metal are joined by applying heat to a joint. The heat fuses the two pieces together as one. Cold welding on the other hand requires several factors to work. Firstly, the two pieces must have a similar composition, such as copper and copper. Next, they must be in perfect condition. No rust, oil or grease. In other words, no foreign material at all can be present on the two pieces. Thirdly, a vacuum, not the household kind, is needed. The kind of vacuum that is in space. When all these things are present the two will fuse together, forming one solid piece. The reason for this is that the atoms in the metals can’t tell if they are on different pieces of metal, and form just one continuous piece. If there is a foreign object, such as rust, oil or grease, the atoms kind of know that the two pieces are different, and will not stick together.

Now, as you could imagine, this could be a bit of a problem for NASA and other space agencies. The space craft and tools that they use are made out of metals. They need to be strong and durable to survive launch, orbit and re-entry. Plastic and other materials just wouldn’t cut it, especially if repairs were needed to be carried out. However, as we have said, metals will stick together in space, which could mean that a wrench could stick to the space craft, or even a pair of scissors might become completely useless because the moving parts would fuse together. But the NASA geeks had this little problem sorted.

What NASA does is give the tools a little coating of plastic or other thin coating material to prevent the two surfaces from physically touching. This provides a thin coat to tools and other objects that are used in space. But the coating isn’t really that necessary.

The reason that NASA doesn’t have to coat the metal tools so if two pieces of metal touch in space they wont stick together is because the metal is forged here on Earth. Earth isn’t the perfect environment for metals. The oxidizing atmosphere immediately contaminates the surfaces of the metals. When they are sent into space, this contamination will prevent the two from sticking together. B ut if the metal is forged in space, they will stick like shit to a blanket.

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cold welding

2 A Moon Rock Has Been Lost In Ireland

moon rock lost in ireland

Oopsy Daisy. In what can be described as a monumental mistake of gargantuan proportions, a moon rock has been lost in Ireland. Not only was it lost, it was lost in a dump. Furthermore, it may never ever be recovered and comes at a staggering cost of $5 million.

I know, I know. A rock is a rock, right? I mean, it doesn’t take all that mush effort to find stones laying about. But moon rocks on the other hand are a different story. They aren’t exactly on every street corner. They are kind of rare on Earth.

Over the six successful moon landings, the astronauts have returned 2196 moon samples weighing 381.69 kilograms (841.6 pounds). These samples were subsequently broken up into smaller fragments making up a total of 35,600 individual pieces. So even though there are all of these pieces, they are still rare, and given the fact that no manned missions have been planned to our moon, it’s unlikely that there are going to be any further samples collected again in the near future. This makes the fact that a moon rock was lost in Ireland even that more disturbing. So what exactly happened for Ireland to lose a moon rock?

Everyone makes mistakes, so lets not judge. When Apollo 17 returned to Earth in 1972 it had a brick sized piece of rock on board that was headed for president Nixon. It was Nixon’s intention to have the rock broken into pieces and distributed around the world as gifts to different nations. Each piece was to be mounted on a plaque with a flag of the country it was going to. Of the 135 pieces from this one small rock, one was sent to Ireland and ended being housed in the Dunsink Observatory.

As many of you are aware, before long interest in moon missions soon waned, and people found the whole idea rather boring. Because public interest was no longer focused on the moon, the small commemorative fragment of rock from the moon was soon forgotten about. SO it was presumably just thrown into a spare closet somewhere in the building.

In 1977  disaster struck the observatory when it burned down. As a consequence of people forgetting about it, when the site was cleaned no one bothered to first look for an expensive piece of rock. It was sent to the local dump, along with the rest of the destroyed observatory. It appears that no one was even aware that it may have been in the building. Now it is buried, hidden somewhere among the countless other bits of debris in the dump.

Even though a moon rock is lost in Ireland, it hasn’t stopped some people dreaming. With financial difficulties in the country, and the lure of a a valuable chunk of rock, some people have tried to find the missing piece of moon. So far it remains lost.

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moon rock lost in ireland

3 The First Liquid Fuel Rocket

First Liquid Fuel Rocket

Rockets have been around for a very long time. The Chinese were the first to capitalize on the idea of using a flammable substance to propel an object through the air. Although these first rockets were only made out of bamboo and black powder, an early form of gunpowder, they began a revolution that would eventually lead to the space age.

Ever since the first rockets entered the scene, they were solid fuel.  Initially consisting of gunpowder, innovations continued with better propellants that could provide more thrust. But there has always been one major problem with solid fuel. It burns extremely quickly, and it can be rather expensive. Surely a better option could be found. Enter liquid feul rockets.

The idea of a liquid fuel for rockets was a real innovation in rocket science. It worked by mixing two liquids that would react in the engine and burn, providing thrust. It would mean longer burn times, and more control over the burn. Only one problem, no one had ever done something like this before.

On March 16, 1926, in Auburn, Massachusetts, Dr. Robert H. Goddard successfully launched the first liquid fuel rocket. He used liquid oxygen and gasoline as the propellants for his new rocket. Two affordable and easily attainable liquids. Although it wasn’t overly large, the first liquid fuel rocket changed rocket science forever. Unfortunately, liquid fuel rockets would prove to cause havoc during WWII when the Germans launched the liquid powered V1 and V2 rockets on England.

This first successful flight is regarded by many flight historians as being as important as the first flight by the Wright Brothers.

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First Liquid Fuel Rocket

4 How Fast is Space Travel?

how fast space travel

How fast is space travel? Lets face it, space travel is very very fast. The only speed limit in space is the speed of light, but humans haven’t yet been able to come anywhere near that speed. But we have launched some rockets into space that have been able to attain some extraordinary speeds. All of the super fast rockets have been deep space satellites. How do they get them to go so fast?

When rockets are launched into space they are already going at breakneck speeds. Even though these speeds are very fast, in most cases additional measures are needed to accelerate the spacecraft. The way that this is done is by making the spacecraft slingshot of other planets. The craft uses the gravitational pull of the planet to accelerate it before jettisoning off at a faster speed. But sometimes NASA scientists are able to reach amazing speeds through pure firepower alone, as was the case with Deep Space 1.

Talk about going places fast. Only four days after it was launched, the Deep Space 1 spacecraft (pictured) was about one million (1,000,000) kilometers (about 600,000 miles) from Earth. To put this into perspective, it would take you 6 weeks non stop in a jet to travel the same distance.

BONUS FACT

Did you know that it takes less time for a manned space rocket to reach the moon then it did for a horse and carriage to travel the length of England? It takes a total of 3 days, 3 hours and 49 minutes for a rocket to travel to the moon. In comparison, a comfortable journey through the length of England would have taken well over a week to complete. That is of course taking into consideration sleeping and so forth. The benefit of a space ship is that it will continue to move even while the astronauts are sleeping, and will still safely arrive at the destination. The same can not be said for a horse and carriage ride.

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how fast space travel

5 According To Stephan Hawking – Black Holes Lose Mass and Disappear

Stephan Hawkings - Black Holes Lose Mass

According to world famous scientist, Stephen Hawking, black holes lose mass. This is an amazing reversal of his long held belief that once something enters a black hole, nothing will ever escape.

For the world’s scientists, including Stephen Hawking, black holes have remained an absolute mystery. They have been incredibly difficult to find, and as they normally swallow everything in their path, learning about their composition is nigh on impossible. But that hasn’t stopped the worlds leading scientists from hypothesizing about them. One in particular has devoted much of his adult life to the study of them, and has recently made a massive reversal of his previous position.

According to a new theory by Stephen Hawking, black holes lose mass. It was a common held belief among the scientific community that nothing could ever escape the gravitational pull of these space monsters. But that idea just didn’t explain one thing. If a black hole consumes everything in its path like a cosmic vacuum cleaner, why can we see the particles that they emit?

Stephen Hawking revised his theory on black holes and believes that they may be actually lose mass. Because the cosmic vacuum cleaners gradually shed particles, that we can see, they become smaller. As with everything that exists, the more you remove, the less you have left of it remaining. He believes that if the process is left long enough, it will result in a black hole completely disappearing from the universe. They essentially behave like a puddle of water. At one point the hole is full, but if left over time, it will eventually evaporate away until nothing remains.

But don’t wait around for one to “disappear” because it will take trillions and trillions of years to happen, and by that time even our planet wont be around any more.

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black hole

6 Venus Doesn’t Spins Counter Clockwise Like Every Other Planet

venus spins counter clockwise

Did you know that Venus doesn’t spin counter clockwise? So what, right. But keep on reading and you will find the reason this is unusual.

Every crowd has one, and it appears as though the solar system we sit in is no different. I’m talking about nonconformists, those who want to stand out from the crowd and be individuals. There’s nothing really wrong with it, and it’s certainly a way to get the attention you desire. So I guess you’re wondering who or what the nonconformists is in our solar system?

Well you could really point the finger at any number of items or planets. There’s Earth for example that is the only one with known life. While we know for sure that there is life on Earth, we can’t rule out for certain that some kind of simple life form exists somewhere else in the solar system.

There’s also any of the gas giants that have climates that would simply confound the more simple minded of us. But for the purposes of this particular fact we are talking about the direction that Venus spins.

All of the planets in the solar system turn counter-clockwise on their own axis when looking down on the Suns north pole, all except Venus. Venus doesn’t spin counter clockwise and is the only planet that turns clockwise. The reason Venus doesn’t spin counter clockwise like the rest? It is thought a comet or meteor struck it in the solar systems infancy, and the impact or collision caused it to rotate in the wrong direction, at an extremely slow rate. It’s a rate that is so slow that a day on Venus is longer than its year. A day on Venus lasts 243 Earth days, and it takes  224.65 days to orbit the sun.

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7 What Does Equinox Mean

what does equinox mean

What does equinox mean? It’s a word and event that we come across twice a year, yet how many people know the meaning behind the word and where it originated from?

What does equinox mean?

The word equinox literally means equal night. An equinox occurs when the sun appears over the equator and the number of daylight hours for the northern and southern hemispheres are equal. Everywhere around the world, no matter how far you are from the equator, the length of the night time hours are the same, or equal. An equinox occurs twice a year, once in Autumn and once in Spring. So you now know that it means equal daylight and night time hours, but where did the word originate from?

The ancients have known for a very long time about the changing seasons. Many civilizations based their very existence on knowing when the warmer months were approaching. They needed to know this so that they could prepare their crops, or in the case of an approaching winter, prepare for it. When it came down to naming the event, there’s little doubt that every different culture had their own name for it. But as always the case, history is written by the victor, and only one name could survive.

As with many things scientific in nature, they have a Latin origin. Equinox is no different. The word equinox originates from Latin. The original word was aequinoctium, which just like equinox means equal night.

An equinox occurs about the 22 September and 20 March each year.

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what does equinox mean

8 Saturn Wind Speed is over 4 Times Faster Than That on Earth

Saturn Wind Speed

Well blow me down. Saturn’s wind speed is about four times as fast as anything ever recorded on Earth. But get this…. It’s not the fastest in the solar system either.

Wind has a history on Earth of being a bit like the in-laws. Welcome when you need it, but unwelcome when you don’t need it. To demonstrate what we mean when we say this, take a sailing vessel. Without wind it’s basically just a fancy bobbing decoration for the ocean. Add a little wind and it becomes an effective mode of transportation. A similar situation arises with kite flying. If there’s no wind you have a pretty useless paper weight, like many second rate smart phones that get released. Throw some wind in and let the fun begin. The in-laws.. You want some privacy and they knock on the door, need a loan and they are there for you. Get the drift?

But that’s the good points of having wind, and the inconvenience of not having it around. What about when it starts to really blow? Wind can be destructive. Under the right circumstances it can literally destroy everything in its path. The fastest winds ever recorded on Earth come from tornadoes. The highest wind ever recorded on Earth was in the 1999 Bridge Creek–Moore tornado where the wind reached 484 km/h (301 mph). The second highest winds come from hurricanes, cyclones and typhoons. The fastest wind from one of these monsters came from Tropical Cyclone Olivia on 10 April 1996, when the speeds reached gusts of 408 km/h (253 mph). These are obviously very destructive winds, but don’t even come close to the wind speeds on Saturn.

Do you know how fast the wind speed of Saturn is? It can reach speeds of 1,800 kilometers (1,118 miles) per hour around its equator. That’s about four times as fast as the fastest winds ever recorded on Earth, and second only to Neptune which blows at 2,100 km/h (1,300 mph), but isn’t dense enough to fly a kite. 

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saturn

9 Saturn’s Rings Are Made of Ice, Rock and Dust

Saturn's Rings Are Made Of

Would you believe that Saturn’s rings are made out of many common things and aren’t solid at all? From earth they look as though they are solid and thin, but in reality they are like a dust cloud circling Saturn.

To many amateur astronomers, and even the professionals, one of the most beautiful sights in the night sky is that of Saturn. Of all of the planets that can be seen by most ordinary people with ordinary factory telescopes, Saturn is simply beautiful to gaze upon. I’m speaking from experience here. I love astronomy. I’ve seen quite a few things in the sky with my telescope, but when it comes to the planets, only two made me giddy with excitement. One was the giant Jupiter, which itself offers a wonderful experience. The other is Saturn with its glorious rings. While both are magnificent planets, and Jupiter is closer, larger, has more detail and is easier to find, Saturn has a beauty about it that Jupiter doesn’t, and I think it comes down to its rings. But did you know that despite the fact that they appear to be solid, Saturn’s rings are made out of ice, rock and dust? As if a dirt rally has been doing circles around the planet.

As Saturn’s rings are made out of ice, rock and dust, some of the ice and dust are simply monstrous. Some of them are as small as a grain of sand and some are as big as a sky scraper. It’s not something I’d be too willing to navigate through, not for anything. But I’d sure love to get a closer view. It would be magnificent. 

Have you seen Saturn through a telescope? Tell everyone about it below.

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saturns rings are made of

10 Saturn’s Moon Titan is Eerily Earth Like

saturn moon earth like

The universe is a massive place. We can only see a mere fraction of the stars that are present within our own galaxy, let alone the rest of the universe. When  gazing at the stars I often think to myself just how many other planets out there are like the one we inhabit? With the sheer number of stars and possible planets orbiting them, the odds are in favor of another inhabited planet out there somewhere. But before we go looking to far afield for imitation Earths, we should begin closer to home. Why I hear you ask? Saturn’s moon Titan is eerily earth like.

Titan is the second largest moon in our solar system, second only to Ganymede. What sets Titan apart from all of the other celestial bodies is its dense atmosphere and its resemblance to Earth. Just like Mars, Titan also has a landscape that has been formed by liquid flows, but there’s a massive difference between the two. The liquid is still there on Titan.

Saturn’s moon Titan is Earth like due to its atmosphere and geography. But mn will be in no rush to take a step on the surface of this satellite of Saturn. You see, although it is Earth like in many ways, it is as alien as they come. The liquid flows on the surface of the planet are not from liquid water, they are liquid methane. To put it into perspective, liquid methane has a boiling point, the point in which liquid turns into vapor, of −161.49 °C  (−258.68 °F; 111.66 K). That’s freaking cold. Far colder than any place on Earth. To make matters worse, liquid methane is the stuff that they use in rockets! In other words, NO NAKED FLAMES!

So why are scientists so interested in Titan? Scientists are interested in it because they believe it’s atmosphere resembles Earths long ago. By learning about Titan they will be able to learn more about early Earth.

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saturn moon earth like

11 How Big is Jupiter

How Big Is Jupiter

How big is Jupiter I hear you ask. Well it’s fair to say that it’s pretty darn big. So big in fact, that it will blow your mind.

Jupiter is the biggest planet in our solar system. It’s one of the four gas planets that circle our sun, and it is intriguing, to say the least. Easily identifiable due to its brown bands and giant red spot, it is among the favorite celestial bodies for amateur astronomers.

The planet has been known for generations, although it hasn’t always been known as a planet. In a time before knowledge about other planets, it was known as one of the wandering stars, stars that move and change position in the sky. This is something that only the five visible planets would do. It has always been easy to identify in the night sky due to its brightness, which is among the brightest stars in the sky.

Enough with the background information, how big is Jupiter already? Jupiter has a radius of 69,911 km, and its mass is 1.898E27 kg, or 318 times the mass of the Earth. That’s very big, but we can put into more context if you like?

Did you know that Jupiter’s mass is 2.5 times the mass of all the other planets in the Solar System combined? You can actually fit every other planet in the solar system inside Jupiter, even Saturn which is a gas giant like Jupiter. The red spot, which looks very small through a telescope, can actually hold about three Earth sized objects. That’s how big Jupiter is. It’s really big!

It’s size has massive implications for our patch of dirt also. Due to the size of the planet, the gravitational field that it generates attracts many outer bodies that could possibly cause havoc with the inner planets, ours included.

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12 Saturn’s Rings Disappear Every 14 Years

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNwTO3njTX0

Eerie. Does the title of this fact really say that Saturn’s rings disappear approximately every 14 years? You better believe it, because Galileo couldn’t believe his eyes when he witnessed it for the first time. But how could this be? How could something that’s always there, has been recorded in numerous telescope images and even captured by the Cassini satellite that flew by the planet, disappear. Read on and all will be revealed.

Think of Saturn as this solar systems best magician. While it appears as though a magician performs magic, there’s no magic involved at all. Many modern magicians have even refereed to themselves as illusionists, not magicians. The reason is because they use slight of hand techniques, and other optical distortions to make what they do appear to be magical. Some of the simplest tricks involve making something disappear. But s we all know, the item doesn’t go anywhere, it’s just an illusion. This is Saturn’s trick.

When Saturn’s rings disappear around every 14 years they don’t go anywhere. How could they? They’re immensely huge and a little difficult to misplace. But they are also thin. When the planet faces Earth edge on, which happens roughly every 14 years, something marvelous appears to happen. Saturn’s rings disappear, if ever so briefly.

When Galileo first witnessed this he began to question his sanity as the rings would be there, and then vanish, only to return later. The poor guy must have thought the universe was drunk, or he somehow was entering early dementia.

Here’s a bonus fact. Even though other planets have rings around them, Saturn’s rings are the only ones visible from Earth, even with a small telescope.

Watch the amazing video above for more on Saturn.

saturns rings disappear

13 Are All Stars In Galaxies? Not Really

Are All Stars In Galaxies

Question time. Are all stars in galaxies? I bet it’s a question that you probably haven’t ever put much thought into, but it’s probably a question you are looking for an answer to now. Well prepare for a shock, because the correct answer might not be what you expect.

Our little patch of space is a nice and cozy one. We are sitting just right, in a perfect position near our sun to be comfortable and thrive. It’s not too hot, and not too cold. As Goldilocks would say, it’s just right. Our sun is of course the center of our solar system. All the planets that are in our solar system revolve around it. The sun itself it but one of millions upon millions, and maybe even even billions of stars in our galaxy, the Milky Way. A galaxy is a collection of stars, dust and gas that are held together by gravity, much the same as our very own solar system. So it would make perfect sense then if all stars were in galaxies, or would it?

So, are all stars in galaxies?

Not at all. Astronomers have discovered stars that are moving between galaxies that are millions of light years apart. The stars that are roaming through the universe as solitary loners are thought to be the remnants of collisions between galaxies. When galaxies collide, they cause changes in gravitational pull. Some stars may actually be flung out of their own galaxy to roam the universe alone. But this is where things get even more interesting.

These stars that are between galaxies might even have planets. Now if you can, what do you see on a clear night? A star filled sky, right? Not if you were on a planet circling one of these rogue stars. If you were to stand on one of these planets the only thing you would see would be it’s own star during the day, and at night, no stars, just millions of galaxies. That would be amazing.

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Steve Wozniak Was Arrested for Building a Fake Bomb
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