Space tourism or space travel has become possible since a couple of decades ago, by some incredibly talented scientists and astronauts who wanted to know more about space. It can be argued that space exploration has been one of the most exciting things that technology has made possible.
And even though it has been a great topic for the movie industry in Hollywood, and it’s a science-fiction genre, most of the time what is portrayed, is often too idealized or simply wrong.
Space exploration has often been used to discover, explore and understand the universe. It also has a sometimes negative connotation of a political background, as there has been an eternal war between countries in order to see who would reach further first or who would obtain more knowledge of the unknown universe.
There are, however, several concepts or misconceptions in regards to what actually occurs in space. From individuals dying if they are ever without a special suit, to having a burning and flammable body. This list will definitely help debunk some of the most-known myths in terms of space tourism!
Continue reading to find out everything that is needed to know about space tourism, space travel, and space exploration!
25 There is Zero Gravity in Space
Actually, gravity exists everywhere, even in space. One of gravity’s functions is to give shape to the solar system, to the orbits of the planets, and even to the galaxies. Although it is very unlikely gravity will be felt in space because it is too weak, gravity is still there.
According to Wired, gravity only increases as more mass and energy is added, so it can be said that if an object or two have mass then there will also be a gravitational force pulling them towards each other. If, however, the objects are too apart from each other, then their gravitational force decreases.
24 The Color of the Sun is Yellow
The true color of the sun is actually white and it emits a lot of energy in the visible range of the human eye. When looking at the sun from outer space, one can see that white is the actual color, this white is also the color of the light emitted. How is this possible when it looks red, orange or yellow from the earth?
As Solar-Center.Stanford.Edu explains, the reason for this is that the Earth’s atmosphere scatters all colors but the colors of yellow, orange and red have a higher wavelength and are harder to scatter. So, the sun looks yellow to the naked eye. In fact, it can be argued that the sun is essentially all colors mixed together, and it’s materialized when looking at a rainbow!
23 The Asteroid Belt is Very Dangerous
When the solar system was still in its baby phase, dust and rock were the main objects circling the sun. They continued doing this until they were pulled together by their strong gravitational force thus new planets were created. However, there was a “small” space between Jupiter and Mars that became known as the Asteroid Belt.
As Ripley’s states, the rocky objects found in this belt have miles and miles of space in between them, so it makes it rather difficult - not to say almost impossible - to have a collision with one of the objects. The distance between these asteroids has been estimated at 600,000 miles. Now, the distance between the Earth and the moon is roughly 238,855 miles.
22 People's blood boil
As BBC.com has mentioned, human blood is not able to boil in space because the body doesn’t respond that way. Just like people won’t explode, blood won’t boil either. What happens is like the above paragraph, called ebullism. If a human is in space without a suitable space suit then bubbles will form in the low-pressure areas where circulation of the blood passes through.
Moreover, if the human heart is still beating in space then boiling simply won't occur in arterial blood. Veins and arteries have very thick walls that will save the body from boiling by resisting the expansion of the body. This is similar to getting ‘the bends’ in diving.
21 NASA Spent Millions to Create a Pen that Could Write in Space
It can be said that if a rumor is spread correctly, it could potentially reach outer space. This is exactly what happened with this rumor that is still roaming around, almost 60 years after the height of the space race when it allegedly happened.
According to Scientific American, NASA scientists discovered their expensive pens couldn’t function in space. What a shock! In reality, apparently, Paul C. Fisher and the Fisher Pen Company created a space pen that both the Soviets and North American astronauts continue to use in space. Don’t worry though, North American citizens didn’t pay for the making of these pens!
20 Jetpacks Let Astronauts Fly Around
According to SmithsonianMag, the Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU) is a dream come true but it’s not a jetpack. This machine gave astronauts the mobility to be able to reach places without a tether attached to the Space Shuttle, thus gaining more independence. It is operated with hand controllers, therefore the astronaut is able to decide where to go to by simply moving their arms.
Even though it was specifically designed for astronauts to be more independent during extravehicular activities, the MMU has been seen as not really necessary in space. This is why it hasn’t been used in a couple of years.
19 Black Holes Swallows Everything
If an object or mass finds itself to be in the event horizon of a black hole, then this black hole will definitely ‘eat’ or ‘swallow’ everything around it. Whether it is a dog, a person or a massive star, they will soon be gobbled down by the black hole. The event horizon is an invisible - but very important - boundary that separates the black hole from the rest of the universe.
As SpacePlace.nasa.gov has pointed out, when “accretion” occurs, or to put it simply, when a black hole pulls something in, it is because the material found close to the event horizon gets pulled into a massive disk. Most of the time, the preferred diet of these black holes is gas.
18 Explosions and Fire Happen in Space
In order to have an explosion in space, there must be a source of fuel that feeds it. Otherwise, the fire of the explosion is not able to spread out because there is so little air in space. Also, even though gravity exists in space, its impact is minimal in terms of helping the possible flames to go upwards.
Space mentions that making a fire in space is a very, very difficult, but not an impossible task. Remember that for the fire to survive, three elements must coexist: oxygen, fuel, and heat. Furthermore, if an explosion were to happen in space, the debris would be forced in every possible direction.
17 A Body Will Freeze Instantly in Space
Hollywood movies make people believe that if a human was in space without a spacesuit, they would probably freeze very rapidly. This belief is, however, far from being true!
As Real Clear Science has taught on their website, if a person is in outer space with no special equipment then they would neither freeze nor burst into flames. What will happen though is that the air that is found in one’s lungs would expand, there will also be some tissue tearing, depending on one’s body, and the water that is found in soft tissues could evaporate, which in turn would make the body swell.
16 There is Sound in Space
On earth, when a person talks, people nearby will be able to hear them. This is because sound travels and when this happens it’s actually making molecule vibrate through the air.
As Qrg.Northwestern.edu has mentioned, in space, things differ dramatically as there is no air and there are no ‘vehicles’ that would allow molecules to travel either. Since there is no atmosphere and no fluid to carry shockwaves there is no sound. This is mainly because there are so very few particles and because of the distance that these particles have to travel is so immense that they would simply end up vanishing.
15 Where are the Aliens?
‘’Where is everybody?’’ is what physicist Enrico Fermi asked when looking at the sky more than 60 years ago. He was, of course, talking about aliens. He became known for this question... but what if the true aliens are human beings and instead of looking at the sky, people only need to see each other to realize their alien qualities?
The Atlantic has stated that there are millions of planets in the universe that could possibly sustain life. In fact, some scientists believe that there are billions of planets where life could develop. If aliens exist, maybe they simply don’t want to be contacted, or they are more advanced than human beings and have seen what is happening to Earth in regards to climate change and they want to avoid that future.
14 There is a Water Reservoir in Deep Space
Scientists have found that some exoplanets are likely to have water in their composition. These planets are from two to four times the size of Earth, but they are very rocky and astronauts are discerning whether they have oceans, especially considering they have atmospheres similar to the one found on Earth.
Universe Today says that even though water has been found on those exoplanets, it is still difficult to determine whether that water is like that found on Earth, and this also leads to the question of whether aliens exist, as water is very important for life.
13 Spacecraft Surfaces Experience Searing Heat with Re-entry
According to Science.How Stuff Works, it is one thing is to take a spacecraft outside the Earth’s atmosphere, and another completely different thing is to take the same spacecraft inside the Earth’s atmosphere. This is mainly because spacecraft travel incredibly fast when re-entering Earth atmosphere.
So, what actually happens is a mixture of forces, including gravity and drag that eventually leads to friction. This combination of occurrences makes a resistance of air, which in turn, slows the spacecraft down in order to safely enter the Earth’s atmosphere. Sometimes the craft gets so hot that it glows, a process sometimes referred to as incandescence.
12 Comets and Asteroids are Made of the Same Stuff
Even though asteroids and comets might look similar to most people, they are actually very different from each other in terms of their composition. Asteroids are made up of rock and various metals and orbit near the sun. Comets, however, are made up of ice, dust, organic and rocky material.
As Universe Today points out, asteroids were formed closer to the Sun, this is why they do not have ice in them as the sun simply melted the ice. Therefore comets were formed far away from the Sun where its incandescent light was not able to melt the ice.
11 Mercury is the hottest planet
Even though Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun, this characteristic doesn’t make it the hottest planet of the solar system. How is this possible? For starters, Mercury has a low mass and the thinnest atmosphere of all planets, so scientists believe this is why it isn’t the hottest of the planets. Because it’s atmosphere is so thin, it makes Mercury lose heat into its space.
What’s the hottest planet then? Right next to Mercury one can find Venus, that boasts a thick atmosphere that covers the whole planet, thus making it the hottest planet in the solar system, Planets for Kids says.
10 The Vacuum of Space is Extremely Cold
First of all, when the universe was younger and smaller than what it is today it was a very hot and warm place. Fast-forward a couple of billion years and the universe has expanded incredibly. All the molecules that were around before, were almost bumping into each other. Now they are far away one from another, thus making the universe a bit colder.
However, this is only true when talking about a planet or a part in space that is far away from the sun. Because when an object is close to the sun, chances are the object will be very, very hot, according to Forbes.
9 The Earth is a perfect sphere
When looking at photos of the Earth one can see a beautiful and perfectly rounded blue, green and brown circle. Does this mean the Earth is perfectly round? Not really. In fact, the Earth has a 3D shape that is called a spheroid.
Whenever the Earth is rotating it is also creating a strange force that is highest at the equator and zero at the two poles. This occurrence makes the Earth slightly squashed into a sphere, thus the perfectly-rounded image of the Earth is not 100 percent accurate. Don’t worry though, this effect is too small to be detected by most people, according to Scientific American and we can still say that the Earth is round.
8 There are Direction in Space
“Move a little bit to the left,’, “Go down there,” “Come up here,” are some phrases that are not truly literal when in space because direction doesn’t really exist. So, how do astronauts determine direction when they are in space? How do they know which way is north, south, east or west, asks Science.time.com.
As amazing as this sounds, all of the above words and sentences are useless when in space. In fact, they pretty much only need to know where their spaceship is in order to see how fast it is going. Directions are something that humans have invented but they are very dependent on specific cultures, places and time.
7 Flying in Space is Like Flying on Earth
From gravity, to what a person must wear if they want to fly in space, the concept of flying is very diverse whether a person is flying in the air on Earth or in space. Flying in space is something not many people will experience, flying while being on Earth is more common - and cheap!
For instance, when flying in the air an airplane can only reach a certain level of feet above sea level. This is not the case with a spacecraft, as it, of course, can fly further and further away. Corporeal sensations are also different, as Explain that Stuff reports.
6 Creating Gravity in Space is Easy
Even though it is not an impossible task, it is definitely a very difficult task. It is sometimes referred to as “Artificial Gravity,’’ and it basically means that the spacecraft or space station must be spinning non-stop in order to create a centrifugal force that pulls individuals to the outside, and simulates gravity… or at least something similar to gravity.
Since current spacecraft don’t have artificial gravity, Curious.astro.cornell.edu, tells us that this is why everything that’s inside the spacecraft is constantly falling and floating because creating an artificial gravity setting is actually more time and money consuming than leaving things as they are!
5 A Light Year is a Measurement of Time
The term ‘light years’ is often used to describe the distance between some objects. For example, A is 3 light-years away from the Earth, and so on. What this means is that a light-year is an actual distance where light travels in the time frame of a year, that is an Earth’s year, as Starchild.gsfc.nasa.gov explains.
One light-year is about 6 trillion miles (9 trillion km), and that is definitely a lot of zeros to add! The sun that is the closest star to Earth is about 83-million miles away. This means that the Sun’s light takes around 8.3 minutes to reach humans on Earth, so the sunlight that one sees now is actually how it was about 8.3 minutes ago.
4 The Earth is at the Center of the Solar System
All throughout early history, people believed that the Earth was the center of the universe. It wasn’t until Copernicus started investigating that he began to say that the sun was at the center of the solar system, and the Earth and other planets traveled around it.
It has since been determined that the center of the solar system is a point in space called the barycenter, which is very close to the sun. Therefore it is possible to continue saying that the sun is the center of the solar system, as Curious.astro.cornell.edu has stated.
3 Comets Always Have Tails
Comets start developing their tails when they are approaching a perihelion point, which is a place in their orbits where they are closest to the sun. Because comets are made of ice, the sun’s heat helps evaporate some of these components, thus creating a tail. So, what happens when comets start moving away from the sun?
According to Amazing Space.org, when the comet is moving away from the sun the heat is no longer directly reaching the comet, thus the conversion of frozen liquids to gasses also diminishes, so basically, the further from the sun they get, the smaller the tail.
2 The Sun is on Fire
As it has been established before, it is very difficult to maintain or even to create fire in space as people do here on earth. This is also the answer to the myth, the sun is not on fire either. In fact, the sun is made - mostly - of hydrogen and helium.
Why does it look like it’s on fire? Because the heat and the light that expels, together form a nuclear fusion that makes it look as if the sun is constantly on fire, according to Space.com.
1 What Happens To Humans
There is one good reason for why people won't explode when in space if they happen to be without a special suit that is. It’s called human skin! Human skin does an amazing job of protecting every organ the human body has. In other words, it also prevents the organs from exploding all over the place in space.
According to IFL Science people won’t explode, but they will inflate due to the nitrogen found near the surface of the skin. In fact, the nitrogen found in the bloodstream will make little bubbles that will expand and make a human look twice their size. This is called ebullism, and even though it is a horrible thing to happen, people won't die immediately.
References: AmazingSpace, NASA, HowStuffWorks, ScientificAmerican, Stanford