Billions of galaxies, exploding stars, colorful nebulae, inhabitable planets, and dark voids of nothingness – the universe is a mysterious and gigantic place full of ancient secrets. And diverse beauty!
The solar system itself hosts unbelievably contrasting celestial phenomena: the deadly atmosphere of Venus, the moons of Jupiter, the severe weather on Neptune, and so much more.
And somewhere there, hidden in the warm embraces of the Earth, human beings – moved by curiosity sprinkled with stardust - are trying to solve the mysteries of life.
Nevertheless, the truth is light-years away. While it’s true that telescopes and digital technology have evolved over the centuries, there are still secrets that even scientists and astronomers cannot understand. Are we alone in the universe? Do we exist in parallel worlds? Will a second Big Bang destroy our reality?
Here are 20 photos of mind-blowing things in space NASA can’t explain.
20 Are Unicorns Real?
The universe is an enormous space full of bright planets, huge galaxies, black voids… and massive unicorns. The space unicorn pictured above is the Trifid nebula, known as M20. According to NASA, this nebula represents a mixture of star-forming clouds, gas, and radiation. Nevertheless, such star structures are so colossal and dense that high-mass star formation is still a mystery.
19 The Butterfly Effect
The butterfly effect is not only a mysterious concept used in chaos theory – it’s also a beautiful dying star’s nebula. According to NASA, the shining wings of the Butterfly nebula above are formed of ionized gas and celestial dust. Yet, nobody knows what will happen to the universe when the stars in the universe die.
18 The Old Man And The Moon
From Area 51 to alien abduction stories, our interest in extraterrestrials is becoming like a religion. In fact, according to Vox, more than 60% of people in the US believe in UFOs. It’s no surprise the picture above went viral. And, as astronomer Carl Sagan said, "The universe is a pretty big place. If it's just us, seems like an awful waste of space."
17 A Giant Slug On Pluto
The ice kingdom of Pluto was relegated to the status of dwarf planet in 2006. Is this massive slug to blame? The bizarre image above was taken by NASA’s New Horizon spacecraft in 2015. According to IFL Science, this extraterrestrial gastropod is actually a block of ice. But you never know – it might be the slug-like Vogons from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy!
16 Aliens With Manners
Because of its proximity and bright colors, the planet Mars has amazed people for ages. Scientists have been trying to find evidence of life on Mars for decades, hoping to prove we have celestial neighbors... And as this picture shows, neighbors with manners! According to Space, however, this floating spoon from NASA’s Curiosity rover is just a rock shaped by Martian winds.
15 Buried On Mars
The universe is a gigantic place full of mysteries; some mysterious are buried deep on Mars. As reported by Space, this shocking picture (named the Face of Mars) was taken by NASA's Viking spacecraft in 1976. While some experts explain this image with the phenomenon of seeing faces in objects and patterns, known as pareidolia, many still believe this is evidence of extraterrestrial life.
14 Will Black Holes Devour The Universe?
Surrounded by weird theories and bizarre myths, black holes are among the most fascinating celestial objects that scientists cannot fully understand. Black holes are regions of space-time with super strong gravitation. According to Live Science, massive black holes can reach millions of times the mass of the sun. Can they devour the universe?
13 White Holes In The Scary Dark Matter
If a black hole is sucking huge amounts of celestial objects, radiation, and light in, isn’t it logical to assume there’s a place where all this information gets spat out? According to Gaia, white holes are the opposite of black holes. Some experts even speculate that wormholes – bridges between two different universes – connect their horizons.
12 Selfie In Space
One of the most unusual space phenomena is taking selfies in space. According to The Guardian, the selfie trend has conquered the world and even reached outer space. Japanese astronaut Aki Hoshide was the first one to take a memorable selfie in space – a shot that probably left Kim Kardashian confused.
11 An Interstellar Visitor
Despite the advances in lens technology and telescopy, there are things that still take scientists by surprise. When the curious interstellar visitor Oumuamua crossed our solar system in 2017, experts could not explain its origins. According to The Atlantic, Oumuamua is a 400-meter long asteroid, red in color, and with a surface similar to comets - some compared it to a fictional alien spacecraft named Rana.
10 The Frozen Kingdom Of Saturn
Mesmerized by the secrets of Mars, we often forget that our solar system consists of eight fascinating planets, including our diverse Earth. Surprisingly, it is the frozen kingdom of Saturn and its moons where scientists found promising evidence. According to South China Morning Post, Saturn’s moon Enceladus contains hydrogen from hydrothermal vents, which can lead to the rise of life.
9 The Red Chaos Of Jupiter
One of the most curious phenomena in our solar system is the red chaos of Jupiter. Jupiter’s iconic Great Red Spot - the largest anticyclonic storm in our solar system - was spotted 300 years ago when it was four times bigger. According to Business Insider, the reasons why this curious high-pressure spot is disappearing are still unclear.
8 What Are Gamma-Ray Bursts?
Gamma-ray bursts are another mysterious space phenomenon that NASA cannot fully understand. As reported by Earth Sky, gamma-ray bursts originate in a beam of radiation during stellar explosions, such as a supernova or a hypernova. If our eyes could detect gamma rays, we would see bursts of brilliant light that can outshine the sun once a day.
7 Riders In Space
Nebulae, defined as clouds of dust and gas, are fascinating deep-sky objects that amateur astronomers love. According to Space, the famous Horsehead Nebula is formed by the radiation from the stars around it. While it’s a prime target for many stargazers, it’s hard to find this beautiful nebula through a telescope. Well, taming a horse is hard!
6 What About Alien Abductions?
People have been simply obsessed with UFOs for ages. Yet, according to History, it was in 1961 when Betty and Barney Hill reported the first-ever terrifying encounter, transforming the model for alien abductions. Scientists still do not know how non-psychotic individuals create such false memories. Or perhaps alien abductions are real?
5 The Mystery Of Nasca
Crop circles, pyramids, strange lights – it seems extraterrestrials are among us. The fascinating Nasca lines in Peru still remain a subject of mystery. As stated in National Geographic, there are over 800 lines, 300 figures, and 70 animal and plant designs. Note that some of the straight lines run up to 30 miles. Were aliens involved?
4 Cosmic Nothingness
The universe is a vast and complex net of galaxies. Between its walls and knots of the cosmic net, however, there are voids emptied of matter – like cosmic deserts of nothingness. According to Live Science, such voids may hold the secrets of the universe. But are you ready to stare into the abyss?
3 The Dimming Of Tabby’s Star
The universe is full of secrets. Tabby’s star is one of the most exciting NASA discoveries. According to Science Alert, Tabby's star is a yellow-white dwarf star with random dimming. Some believe that Tabby’s star is a ploonet – or a moon that has escaped its planet. Can the Moon escape from the Earth then?
2 The Secret Of Dark Matter
The cosmos is a vast black space. Just look at the night sky! One of the most curious things about our universe is the existence of dark matter and dark energy. According to NASA Science, 68% of the universe is dark matter and 27% is dark energy, all pulling star clusters apart and expanding the universe. Can a second Big Bang destroy our world?
1 Are TRAPPIST-1’s Planets Habitable?
Our solar system consists of eight orbiting planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. However, it’s outside our solar system where scientists have finally found Earth-like systems. According to Space, there are seven planets orbiting the ultra-cool dwarf star TRAPPIST-1 that contain liquid water. Maybe there are people like us!...
Sources: Business Insider, Earth Sky, Gaia, History, IFL Science, Live Science, NASA, NASA Science, National Geographic, Science Alert, South China Morning Post, Space, The Atlantic, The Guardian, Vox