Space, the final frontier. There is still very little that we actually understand about the vast universe that we live in. (Check out our list on 25 Puzzling Mysteries From Outer Space That Will Leave You Baffled if you’re curious to see some of what scientists are still trying to figure out.) However, what we do know is that space is very clearly trying its best to kill us all. From deadly radiation to exploding super-stars, the galaxy is dangerous enough to make even the bravest (or craziest) astronauts think twice before deciding to exit our nice, protective atmosphere. Still, the human race is determined to go out and explore the cosmos, so just to make sure we know exactly what we’re getting into, here are 25 Space Facts That Will Both Terrify And Amaze You.
The Earth’s atmosphere and magnetic field protects us from some really nasty stuff, namely radiation. Cosmic rays, solar winds, and electromagnetic particles permeate the universe, so much so that astronauts traveling between Earth and Mars would receive a full-body CT scan’s worth of radiation every five to six days. Any that didn’t succumb to radiation sickness before reaching their target would almost certainly develop severe cancer in their lifetime.
The Expanding Sun
Our Sun is constantly using nuclear fusion to combine hydrogen and helium together in order to keep itself burning; however, its hydrogen is not infinite, and as it gets used up, the Sun will get hotter and hotter. Eventually, it will get so hot that the Earth’s atmosphere will be burned away and our oceans will boil and evaporate completely. Then, once all of the Sun’s hydrogen is gone, it will expand outward into a red giant, consuming the Earth once and for all.
With 100 times more energy than a standard supernova, hypernovae are powerful explosions that occur upon the death of a massive star. Although the factors that cause a star to go hypernova are widely disputed, we do know that the result is often a black hole or neutron star. Hypernovae are also the source of gamma ray bursts in the universe, and they are bright enough to be seen by telescopes millions of light years away.
Space is practically a perfect vacuum, meaning that you can count on the fact that your ears won’t be picking up any sound while your outside your shuttle. While the thought of complete silence might be maddening on its own, don’t believe that just because you can’t hear anything that there isn’t any sound. Due to the lack of gases for them to travel through, sound waves are not present out in space, but sounds are still transmitted in space via electromagnetic vibrations. NASA recorded some of these vibrations from select celestial bodies in our solar system and played them back, resulting in some truly chilling sci-fi horror effects.
Everything Can Kill You
In space, there is no room of error; even the smallest mistake can, and will, kill you. Out of the 430 humans we have sent into space, 18 never made it home. Advancements in technology have made space flights today much safer than they used to be. In the 1970’s, nearly 30% of people who went into space died; however, the furthest we have traveled is our moon. A trip to Mars would increase the risk tenfold, and going beyond is still far beyond our capabilities.