Have you ever looked at the night sky and
thought how beautiful and vast the universe is? How celestial bodies revolve
in nothingness in the form of stars and planets? For over 40 years now,
mankind's greatest fascination has been with the night sky. We look up and
search beyond our planet to understand various laws of physics, to grasp
everything we can from the universe itself, to understand who we really are.
From discovering new planets to observing objects that might have the ability
to bend time itself, space has never ceased to amaze us. So here are some
interesting and lesser known facts about space:
The light we see from stars in the night sky is actually many years old. When we see objects on earth, light travels instantly from the object to our eyes, enabling us to see the object at that immediate time. However, stars are so far away from us that the time light takes to reach earth is many hundreds and thousands of years old. If we had the technology to look at a star further and clearer, we would actually see how the star looked thousands of years ago (depending on the distance).
The asteroid belt in often depicted in movies as a cluster of rocks that forms a congested barrier that separates Mars from Jupiter. While it is true that the belt consists of large amounts of asteroids that appear congested, it is a misconception that astronauts would have to navigate their way around it carefully and precisely. The space between two asteroids is so much that a spaceship can cruise through without any risk of collision at all, proving once again how vast and enormous space truly is.
The sun appears to be yellow in colour due to the earth's atmosphere. The sun emits all colours of the spectrum and when viewed from space, is actually a white shining star.
Early astronauts faced a problem that could not have been predicted from earth. Moondust was a seemingly insignificant problem until astronauts realised that it was highly corrosive and even cut through three layers Kevlar. It also made the joints of the spacesuits rough. Due to the lack of natural elements on the surface of the moon, the dust is forever sharp and can cut through anything. The gunpowder like substance made it very difficult for astronauts to proceed with their missions.
The moon, our satellite, was formed from earth itself after a huge body collided with our planet millions of years ago. The moon from then on helped our planet into a stable orbit and was also responsible for the gravitational waves that formed oceans. If not for the moon, if not for that collision, life would not have existed on earth. Our existence is a mere result of various outcomes that we could have never controlled or even imagine orchestrating.
Orbital debris - man-made objects that orbit the planet, Is becoming an increasing problem for scientists to tackle. There are around 6,00,000 objects orbiting the earth and this is a problem because these objects travel at very high speeds of up 27,000 km/hour. At such speeds, anything is life threatening. If we don?t find a solution to this increasing problem, we would have covered the earth in a blanket of garbage, literally.
The Mars One project is aiming to establish a permanent colony in Mars. Over 2,00,000 people applied to leave earth and settle in Mars. 4 carefully selected individuals will be the first ever human beings to start a life on another planet and every two years, 4 more individuals will be sent and so on. Every step of the crew?s journey in establishing a colony will be documented.
It is clear that we are making substantial progress in space exploration. From putting a man on the moon, sending space probes all the way to Pluto to get a clear shot of its surface and striving to look for life on other planets, mankind has truly proved to be the dominant species on the planet. However, there is so much more in space that we can?t explain. Scientists have observed strange phenomenon and still can?t explain what happens on the other side of the black hole. So there are many ways to look up at the night sky and form an opinion of it. For me, it is mankind's greatest achievement and also the root of our greatest mysteries.