What would you do if we told you that you could be a victim of sneaky space lies? But don’t worry, you’re not alone. Most of us have been victims to wrong information when it comes to space. Our knowledge of the universe is changing so fast that even the smartest astronomers have to constantly keep up with the new information. It’s not easy. So how many of these space lies do you believe? Find out with these 15 sneaky lies you were told about space!
Astronauts are weightless in orbit
Well, sort of. The only reason you see them floating around in the space shuttle is because the shuttle is actually in free fall with the astronauts inside it. So why don’t they smash into the Earth? Simplistically, they are moving too fast laterally and so they keep missing the ground. That’s right, they just keep falling over the horizon.
The sun is yellow
It’s actually white. The reason it looks yellow most of the time is because of the distortion from our atmosphere.
Your mobile phone uses satellites
Usually, no. 99% of communication travels via undersea cables. Only a small portion is bounced off of satellites.
It would be dangerous to fly through an asteroid belt
If you’ve seen Star Wars, then you know what we’re talking about. The truth, however, is that if you actually did fly through an asteroid belt, you probably wouldn’t even notice. The density of asteroids is significantly lower than Hollywood leads us to believe
The Great Wall of China is the only man-made structure visible from space
Nope, the Great Wall isn’t actually all that visible. From the ISS, at about 250 miles up, you can see the Great Wall along with numerous other man-made structures, but it’s definitely not the most visible imprint of man on our planet
Earth is a perfect sphere
Due to its spin, the Earth actually bulges at the equator.
Mercury is the hottest planet
You may be tempted to think that because it’s so close to the sun, Mercury must be the hottest planet in the Solar System. You’d be wrong though. Venus’s atmosphere ensures that its surface is on average 480 C (900 F) while Mercury’s surface averages 167 C (332 F).
The sun is a big ball of fire
Nope, there isn’t any fire in the sun. Fire requires oxygen and the sun is composed mostly of helium and hydrogen. In fact, the heat of the sun comes from something called nuclear fusion. The pressure and temperature in the sun’s core cause the hydrogen atoms to fuse together into helium atoms. This process gives off the intense heat and light of the sun.
The moon has a “dark side”
The dark side of the moon isn’t doused in perpetual blackness, but rather it is simply always facing away from us due to the rotation of both the moon and the Earth. A better name is “far side” of the moon. The only way to see this far side is by actually flying around the moon.
Pluto is a planet
As we all know by now, Pluto used to be a planet. Sadly, that’s not the case anymore. It’s now considered a dwarf planet (thanks International Astronomical Union!). But why? Beyond Neptune is something called the Kuiper belt. This belt is basically a massive asteroid belt. While Pluto is one of the biggest objects in this belt, it’s not the most massive.
Although it hasn’t been found yet, observations regarding the orbits of several outer planets have led to the high probability of there being an actual ninth planet. In all likelihood it would be quite far away and a good bit bigger than Earth.
Black holes are funnels
In movies, they’re often portrayed as 2D suckers. In reality, black holes can be thought of as spheres. They are basically really dense stars with insanely strong gravity.
In the Middle Ages people thought the Earth was flat
Almost every scholar of the Middle Ages knew that the Earth was round. This is the reason that people set off sailing west to go east. In fact, the Greeks already knew the Earth was round as early as 300 BC.
Space is cold
Not really. It’s borderline impossible to measure a proper temperature in space because, well, there isn’t much to measure. A high temperature essentially means that the atoms of a substance are excited. The vacuum of space, however, is significantly lacking in the atom-department. So yes, space is basically temperature-less.
You would freeze in space
As we just saw, it’s not that simple. In fact, it’s more likely that you’d overheat. Why? Because the heat your body generates won’t have anywhere to go. On Earth you can get rid of heat (transfer it) by convection, conduction, etc. In space there isn’t much of anything to give your heat to.