Space has long been considered the final frontier. For generations, humans have wondered what else is out there. Since humans first travelled into space in the 1960s, that fascination has only grown. Today, advances in science and technology have allowed us to learn more about space than ever before. But often, the average person doesn’t get the opportunity to learn about the cosmos. From dwarf planets to shooting stars, there is so much to learn about! That’s why we’ve rounded up a list of 7 facts about space. Ready to blast off into learning some new space facts with us? Then keep on reading!
#1 Space Is Silent.
Sound waves need a medium to travel through. But space is a vacuum – there is no atmosphere for sound waves to travel through. Therefore, the realm between stars is silent and probably always will be. However, worlds with atmospheres and air pressure provide a medium for sound to travel, which is why there’s plenty of sound here on Earth. It’s likely that other planets have sound as well.
#2. There Are More Trees on Earth Than Stars in Our Galaxy.
There are more trees on Earth than stars in our galaxy. NASA estimates that there are between 100 billion and 400 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy, while a 2015 paper published in Nature estimated that there are around 3.04 trillion trees here on Earth. That's a lot of trees!
#3 The Number of Stars in Space Is Uncountable.
While scientists estimate that the amount trees on Earth far outnumber the amount of stars in the Milky Way Galaxy, the number of stars in space is another matter entirely. In fact, when NASA scientists tried to calculate the number of stars in space, this is what they came up with: zillions. A zillion is any large, uncountable amount. This means that space is so vast and parts of it are still so unknown to humans that scientists can only confidently say that space contains an uncountable number of stars!
#4 Footprints on the Moon Are Pretty Permanent.
The Apollo astronauts’ footprints are likely to stay there for at least 100 million years. Why? The moon doesn’t have an atmosphere, so there’s no wind or water to remove the astronauts’ footprints. That means that footprints, roverprints, spaceship prints, and even discarded materials are likely to stay on the moon – perfectly preserved – for a very long time. Not forever, though – even though it doesn’t have an atmosphere, the moon is still a dynamic environment. It is constantly bombarded with “micrometeorites” that are responsible for erosion – it’s just an extremely slow process.
#5 Venus Is Extremely Windy.
Venus may be named after the goddess of love, but the planet’s landscape is actually quite hellish. The surface has a high-temperature, high-pressure environment. In fact, 10 heavily shielded Russian spacecraft landed there in the 1970s but only lasted a few minutes in Venus’ harsh conditions! Above the surface is no better. There, upper winds flow around 50 times faster than the planet’s own rotation. The European Venus Express spacecraft, which orbited the planet from 2006 to 2014, found that these hurricane-force winds appear to be getting even stronger over time!
#6 Mars Is Home to the Biggest Volcano Ever Discovered.
Olympus Mons is located on Mars. It is the largest volcano ever discovered in our solar system. It measures 374 miles across and is comparable to the size of Arizona. It’s also 16 miles high, which is 3 times higher than Mount Everest, the tallest mountain on Earth. Volcanoes on Mars can grow so large because gravity is much weaker there. However, how Mars’ volcanoes came to be in the first place isn’t well understood. Scientists are still debating whether Mars has a plate tectonic system and, if so, whether or not it is still active.
#7 Spacecraft Have Been to Every Planet in Our Solar System.
Humans have been exploring space for over 60 years. In that time, spacecraft have visited every planet in our solar system: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Spacecraft have also visited the dwarf planets Pluto and Ceres. When visiting, the various spacecraft have been able to take photos of all of these celestial bodies. Most of the photos we have came to us from NASA’s twin Voyager spacecraft, which departed Earth in 1977 and, as of 2017, are continuing to transmit from beyond the solar system in interstellar space!
Want to learn more facts about space? Check out this video!