Debunking Common Misconceptions About Outer Space


The Outer Space has awed scientists and people alike since the dawn of time. There are some misconceptions surrounding it and we are here to debunk some!

Space is literally all around us, and comprehending it is famously tough. Who can blame anyone for lacking cosmic perspective, given the hundreds of billions of stars and planets that make up our galaxy alone, even if NASA’s Insight rover just landed on Mars to send some back?

Everything in the possible spectrum of reality is contained within the cosmos we all know, implying that the universe is the most intriguing thing by proxy.

You’ve undoubtedly seen spectacular space battles with blasters penetrating the dark vacuum and producing joyous booms in your favorite sci-fi flicks. However, to throw interesting light, space is a vacuum with no oxygen, and oxygen is required for any combustion activity. As a result, humans have a lot of strange misconceptions about space (thanks, Hollywood).

Is it possible for an asteroid to decide your fate? What exactly is an asteroid? Asteroids square measure rocky worlds that orbit the sun but are not giant enough to be termed “planets”. Planetoids or tiny planets square measure alternative names for them. Their square measures innumerable asteroids, with diameters starting from many miles to a couple of feet. The mass of all asteroids combined is a smaller amount than that of Earth’s moon.

Asteroids, in spite of their size, are also deadly. Several have collided with Earth within the past, and additional can do so within the future. One in every explanation scientists have an interest in asteroids is to find out additional information concerning their numbers, orbits, and physical properties.

Do you think there’s any sound in space? Does it smell like a charred steak in space? And not just human beings, but also alien beings, exist? What color is the sun? (Believe it or not, the sun isn’t yellow). Continue reading to learn more about this!

The World Of Asteroids

Variable sizes of rocks orbiting the Earth are an excellent source of various misconceptions surrounding them. Let’s get to debunking some of them.

Are asteroids killers?

The pandemic continued into the overwhelming election season. The plague perpetuated despite the unhealthy news concerning wildfires and good news concerning satellite exploration. Through it all, news retailers and clickbait websites perpetuated stories concerning “asteroid killers”, headed our means, and browsers continued to read, click, and worry.

Doubtless, loads of individuals fancy varieties of stories such as crashing of asteroids, collisions, et cetera. But they are stunningly spacious! so don’t fall for the hype: An asteroid isn’t going to kill you. Let’s chew over.

Can Asteroids Hit And Ruin An Entire Continent?

We often see articles with questionable “what If?” queries on the Internet. Several other questions are on there too that go like: “What are the chances of a giant asteroid (typically, the size of a continent) hitting the Earth?” The answer is not at all! The size of a continent is impossible. First of all, the asteroid belt is not home to an object this large, and Ceres, the largest asteroid, is not as big as the largest continent. Ceres is once again far away from us, in a stable orbit, so a threat cannot be deemed.

Space Objects Hitting Us Without Warning?

Another subsequent question: “Could another asteroid strike us without any warning, as it did the dinosaurs?” It is more plausible in this case to assume that an asteroid that was 10 kilometers in diameter struck Earth 66 million years ago. Yet a large moving object such as a comet has no realistic chance of hitting the Earth without us noticing it for the same reasons outlined above. In fact, we have observed every large asteroid and plotted its orbit, and we have not found anything that large approaching us yet.

Despite what you’ve heard about an asteroid hitting the Earth, it won’t. Any asteroid or comet with a substantial chance of impact would be discussed in the scientific community. It would be the subject of scientific conferences. Unless you hear scientists speaking nonstop regarding associate degree imminent impact, this would possibly not happen. Now that’s enough talk about asteroids.

The Mysterious Black Holes

Black holes were thought of as bottomless pits or collapsed stars, and it’s believed to be the system of this complete galaxy. However, the truth regarding black holes is that they’ve been discovered by space research centers everywhere around the globe, and yet, we do not have any excellent proof of black holes. A collision of two black holes has been detected through the activity of force waves. How does that happen? We know something exists, but have no proof. It’s almost like electrons behaving differently when observed in quantum theory.

The idea of black holes has been around for many years, ever since scientists took the better-known laws of physics and determined what would happen at their most extreme. Though these laws of physics have delayed experimental testing, there’s still no guarantee that these extreme situations can happen in nature. Therefore, to prove black holes exist, we want to look at astronomical observations. We cannot directly see black holes yet. Although, we can see them indirectly, supporting however they influence the encompassing matter. This includes observations of whether objects move around black holes, or how light-weight is distorted.

Is The Sun Yellow In Color?

Many of us know that the sun is yellow. Yeah of course when we were young, if we drew the sun, we made a circle and made the perimeter of the sun like a flagellum to show its shining hot emitting rays, and a yellow sketch for the inner part of the sun. In reality, the sun emits all colors of the rainbow more or less evenly. To put it quite plainly, we can call this combination ‘white’.

Higher wavelength colors such as yellow, orange, and red scatter less easily through the atmosphere, giving the sun an extremely bright look throughout the day, with an orange/cherry color close to the boundary. There’s an odd play of physics of sunshine scattering that affects the color, and so the marginal effects of smoke, dust, and pollution contribute to the sun seeming yellow most of the time. The sunshine emitted by the sun which is visible is barely a small part of the massive spectrum.

Space Has No Gravity?

The most important false thing about space is that there is no gravity in space. Many a time, even in movies we see astronauts flying, swimming, and rotating in spacecrafts when they go out of Earth’s atmosphere. Let’s remember the famous words of Newton’s gravity — there is a mutual attraction between any objects with definite mass.

This should mean that even if the spacecraft is outside the planet, it still has a mutual gravitational attraction with the planet. Hell, even the orbit of a spacecraft in outer space is with the help of gravity. So then why exactly do they float around in space?

What astronauts experience in space is this phenomenon called “weightlessness”. The astronauts look and feel weightless as a result of not experiencing the planet pushing a force on them, as opposed to them taking a tumble on Earth. If you’ve ever been in an elevator that descends quickly, dropping from underneath your feet, you’ve had a glimpse of what they experience all the time in space.

Aliens? Something To Ponder About

This is probably the most interesting section in this piece. Let’s debunk some common misconceptions surrounding aliens.

Are They Real?

Whenever we talk about space we come across the word “Aliens” a lot. This word comes with a preconceived image of creatures with big bald heads, green skin, and humongous eyes. Well, thanks to movies and TV shows for creating this image in our minds.

“Are aliens even real? How is that possible?“ Well, there is a widespread notion that life probably exists on many or all of the habitable planets of the universe. This notion is largely based on the observation that life on Earth arose relatively earlier than other planets. But the truth is, we know next to nothing about the likelihood of this event. Recently, a pair of Princeton astrophysicists applied a new kind of statistical analysis to the early timing of the genesis of life on Earth. They determined that Earth’s history has nothing to do with the probability of life elsewhere. Aliens could be anywhere or they could be nowhere.

Are Humans Food For Aliens?

Let’s start with breaking down the most common misconception about aliens, “Aliens harvest humans for food”. This theory does not go well with the science of nutrition. For aliens to get nutrition from humans they should be capable of digesting our molecules like amino acids, sugars, etc. This means their biochemistry should be similar to human beings. This is a long shot as they are species that hail from a very different world.

Human-Alien Breeding?

The other common misconception about aliens is that human-alien breeding is possible. Well, the human DNA cannot combine with ABC or whatever it is that encodes aliens. Humans cannot reproduce even with other animals on Earth including chimpanzees which are our evolutionary relatives. So clearly, it is improbable that we can do so with aliens. Thus, the human-alien hybrids are not even close to future possibilities.

If Aliens Exist, Are They A Threat To Humans?

Aliens are often believed to be dangerous and a threat to human life. Most of the movies create this image of aliens in our minds. Humans have never encountered alien species in real life so generalizing this on the basis of movies would be highly unfair. However, there are some movies like “Koi Mil Gaya” that help break this stereotype against aliens. The movie shows the alien “Jadoo” as a friendly and helpful creature. They require some support groups and rights activists too! Jokes apart, we don’t really know if aliens are dangerous, because we haven’t come across any yet.

Final Word

In a nutshell, space is a form of art that is inspired by astronomical sciences. When you gaze at it, you’re “talking in low tones” while marveling at our planet’s unsung beauty. Every single second of our existence, we should be reverential of where we are. The immensity of being able to view it and to be so fortunate to witness the wonderful cosmos in our lifetime is something we are feeling here on Earth as well.

So, there you have it, readers, the conclusion of another fascinating article from Daksh, the official techno-management fest of SASTRA Deemed to be University. We recommend that you watch WALL-E and Armageddon if you want to learn through the entertainment industry. But don’t get carried away; keep an eye on Chris Hadfield for some educational insights and general information. For the next “We’re coming in hot? Relative to what?” is the most astronaut thing; until then adios!

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