If you’ve always been interested in how the universe works and its many oddities, you might want to enrich your knowledge with these interesting facts about space. There are many things that we find strangely exciting about what happens outside our planet. Here are a few of them.
You get taller when exploring space
There are various changes the human body undergoes when in space yet one of the most bizarre ones is the fact that you get taller. There is an explanation for that seemingly strange body change. The spine straightens out when the human body is in space because gravity does not push it down. Thus, a person can get up to 5 cm taller in a space station. Without heels!
The closest planet to the Sun is not the hottest
Many of us would tend to think that the hottest planet in our solar system is the closest to the Sun. Not really. Mercury is the nearest neighbor of the Sun yet the planet has no atmosphere, which means it is hot only in the daytime, that is when it faces the Sun. It’s true that when this happens, the temperature can rise to 425°C (797 Fahrenheit). At night, though, the temperature on Mercury can drop to -180°C (-292 Fahrenheit). The hottest planet is Venus which, thanks to its thick clouds that trap the Sun’s heat, is constantly 500°C (932 Fahrenheit).
Metal pieces bond together
Space is where even the toughest bond. When two pieces of metal touch each other, they literally bond. The process is known as cold welding and it makes metals bond at first touch. This process does not happen on our planet because of the oxygen in the environment. It can be used during manufacturing processes, though. That’s why the tools and the metal items an astronaut uses have an oxide layer even when leaving our planet.
The skin on one’s feet peel off when in space
Due to the lack of gravity, the body experiences many things that usually don’t occur when on Earth. One of them is the fact that the skin on one’s feet peels off. Again, it has something to do with the microgravity environment. Because the astronauts don’t walk and, thus, don’t use their feet, their skin gets soft and flakes off. That’s why astronauts should be gentle when taking off their socks as the dead skin cells will easily come off and float around.
Planets? Thousands of them out there!
There’s a whole world outside our solar system and by whole, we mean thousands of other planets. Our solar system includes 8 planets yet outside of it, the universe is quite generous comprising 1800 confirmed new planets and another 3000 to be confirmed. These are called extrasolar planets or exoplanets that orbit a star. Astronomers are not only interested in discovering new celestial bodies but also in finding other habitable planets. Most of those discovered so far are hot gas giant planets. Astronomers are still looking for celestial bodies where life can thrive.
The biggest volcano can be found on Mars
Mars is home to the biggest volcano in our solar system, big like in the size of Arizona. Olympus Mons is 16 miles high, which means it is three times higher than Mount Everest, and 374 miles wide, that is almost the size of the state just mentioned. An explanation of the size volcanoes reach on the Red Planet is that gravity is much weaker than on Earth. It is still unknown how these volcanoes formed, though.
Water ice is spread all over the solar system
Some time ago, water ice was considered quite a rarity in space yet recent discoveries have revealed that we were wrong to think so or we were just not looking in the right place. Actually, water ice can be found all over the solar system since it is a component of asteroids and comets. It’s true that we talk about water ice that is different than the one we have on Earth. Even so, it has been spotted on Mercury and the moon, Ceres, Europa (Jupiter’s moon), and Enceladus (Saturn’s moon).
Extreme weather conditions
You might feel that this year’s summer or winter was a bit hotter/colder than last year but, when compared to other planets, the weather we get to enjoy might be easily described as indulgent. Jupiter, for instance, has very fast winds as well as a massive and aggressive storm that has raged on the planet for the last 300 years (the Great Red Spot). Venus is 500°C (932 Fahrenheit) all the time and Mercury and Mars are two planets where extreme negative and positive temperatures occur on the same day. As for windy weather, the winds on Neptune reach 1600 mph.
Water floats and so do your tears when in space
In case you intend to become an astronaut exploring the space for extended periods of time, you know that tears are inevitable given all the dear people you leave here on Earth. Yet those tears will stick to you for quite a while since they don’t fall when you cry in space. The weightless environment will make your tears form bubbles around your eyes. It’s the same with the water you drink. If you spill it, it will float like spheres or bubbles that will cling to a surface until dislodged. Although the whole floating thing might sound cool, it can get dangerous in certain situations as water can cover an astronaut’s ears and eyes.
The inside of the Sun could fit one million Earths
It was long ago that astronomers believed our planet was at the center of the universe. We now know that the Sun is the center of our solar system which includes several planets that orbit it. An interesting fact about the Sun is that it makes up 99.8% of the entire mass of our entire solar system, which further means that one million Earths would fit inside it.