When you ask a little kid what they want to be when they grow up, there is usually a list of common answers: I want to be a doctor, I want to be a fireman, and I want to be an astronaut. And who wouldn’t want to be an astronaut and get the opportunity to fly into space?! As humans, we are fascinated by space, partly because there is so much about it that still remains unknown, and partly because what we do know is fascinating — but it’s also terrifying.
When we think of space, it’s usually positive. The potential of exploring Mars, walking on the moon, or how it must feel to float around because there is no gravity. What we don’t think about is how there could be a solar superstorm that would have a devastating effect on Earth, or why some stars are like vampires. So below are 15 creepy things no one ever tells you about space.
15 A Solar Superstorm Almost Hit Earth
Life is fragile, and when you think about it there are so many things that can go wrong, including the Earth being hit by a solar superstorm which could have destroyed life as we know it.
According to NASA, in July of 2012, the Earth came close to being hit by an extreme solar storm (the most powerful of the last 150 years) which poses a threat to technology.
According to Daniel Baker of the University of Colorado, upon reviewing evidence of the storm, he realized just how close Earth had come to being the in the storms line of fire. He said, "I have come away from our recent studies more convinced than ever that Earth and its inhabitants were incredibly fortunate that the 2012 eruption happened when it did.” Well, isn’t that nice to know.
14 We Don’t Know What’s Out There
Within the last few decades space travel has improved tremendously, and scientific and technological advancements are being constantly made, but still, we’ve barely even scratched the surface. And perhaps the terrifying thing about space is that we don’t really know what’s out there, and there is something unsettling about the unknown.
Could there be something out there that wants to harm us? Is there something that could be hurtling towards Earth as you read this that could change our lives forever? These are questions that neither you, nor I, have the answers to. What we do know is that there is a vast, empty blackness sprawling for more miles than we could possibly comprehend, and in our lifetimes we will never be able to know for certain what lies ahead.
13 There’s No Noise In Deep Space
On Earth, there are more sounds and noises than we even realize (we are actually incredibly good at drowning them out, too, like when your partner asks you to do the dishes and then you suddenly suffer from temporary hearing loss). But in deep space, things are very different and there are no birds chirping or dogs barking… there’s just nothing. First, to understand why you need to understand how sound works, it travels by making molecules vibrate. However, according to GRQ Northwestern, in deep space, there are no molecules for sound to vibrate, and therefore there is no sound.
Now, you may ask "how do astronauts communicate with each other when they’re in space?" That’s something entirely different because there is air in the space shuttle, which allows the sound to travel.
12 Black Holes Are Roaming
Remember that song “Supermassive Black Hole” by Muse? Well, they didn’t just randomly think up that phrase, because black holes are real, and after reading this you will probably wish they weren't. Black holes are formed when a star dies and gravity pulls so much that not even light can escape.
Now knowing this, it’s even more terrifying to think of a black hole roaming around in space, consuming everything in its path, and you definitely don’t want this headed straight towards you. The good news is that you would probably have to be in space for this to happen. According to NASA, the Earth will not fall into a black hole because there is no black hole close enough in the solar system for that to happen.
11 Gamma-Ray Bursts Can Destroy Planets
There are more things that threaten our planet than we care to think of, and Gamma-ray bursts could be one of those things. Gamma-ray bursts are powerful bursts of energy and the brightest electromagnetic events that happen in the universe and this happens when certain pairs of stars collide or if a massive star (a supernova) explodes.
The resulting damage from one of these bursts could reportedly destroy an ozone layer, which would leave the Earth exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet rays. While the chances of this happening to Earth are slim, according to The Conversation, there is a star system in which this could happen, and since it is around 5000 to 7500 light years away, it’s apparently not far enough to be completely safe.
10 Gliese 436B Exists
The Earth is a beautiful planet filled with unique life forms, but there are other planets out there that nothing can live on, and that’s creepy in itself. But then there is the Gliese 436b, which is essentially a planet made from burning ice. Yes, you read that correctly, for some reason on this planet, water can remain solid even at a temperature exceeding 400°C, which is undoubtedly the most fascinating, albeit strange and slightly unsettling thing about this planet.
The planet is orbiting the red dwarf Gliese 436 (it is very close to its star because it orbits it in just two days and 15.5 hours) and was first discovered in 2004. It is around the same size as Neptune and according to Futurism is located around 30 light years away from Earth.
9 Blue Stragglers Suck The Life Out Of Other Stars
A global cluster is a mass of densely packed stars that were formed at the same time, these ancient stars tend to be reddish in color, and according to Curiosity, this is because these are low-mass stars with a cool temperature. There should be no blue stars in this cluster, which tend to be younger, and have a high-mass (which is why they burn blue). However, sometimes there are, and these stars are known as blue stragglers.
I know, it’s complicated, but bear with me a moment here, because apparently, these blue stragglers are similar to vampires. No, they don’t have fangs or drink blood, but they do suck the life out of other stars. Apparently, the only reasonable explanation for their color is that they have sucked the hydrogen and mass from another star.
8 You Can’t Breathe
On Earth, the air is made up of around 78 percent nitrogen and 21 percent of oxygen (yes, I know there is a percent missing, but that’s made up of a combination of other gases including carbon dioxide and argon). Oxygen generates the ozone layer, which is vital to life on Earth and protects from the effects of the sun's rays.
We can obviously breathe on Earth — we all know this. But in space, there is a vacuum and there are no forces to keep the gas molecules together and therefore no breathable air. And if you’re wondering what happens when there is no oxygen in space, well, according to IFL Science it’s not pretty. They note that “After around 15 seconds, your body would have used up all of the oxygen in your body and you’d lose consciousness.”
7 The Sun And The Earth Have A Fragile Relationship
This is undoubtedly the saddest point on our list, and it involves the relationship between the sun and the Earth. According to Space, the sun will reportedly burn out in five billion years, and while humanity will not be around to experience this, it is not just humanity that will die forever, but also our home.
According to The Conversation, as the sun gets closer to dying out it will become cooler but also larger, and there will be strong solar winds that will cause the Earth’s orbit to be slowed down. This, in turn, will result in the planet eventually being pushed into the outer layers of the sun, and it will burn up and be destroyed forever. Even though it will take billions of years for this to happen, it’s still an awful thought.
6 Space Debris Is Scary
There are a lot of human-made objects such as old satellites and pieces of rockets that are floating around in space, but that is not the type of debris I’m referring to with this point. What I find particularly scary is the rocks and other large objects that are floating around which could potentially come into contact with Earth. And if they do, they can cause disaster, in fact, it could wipe out our planet apparently. According to EnkiVillage, there only needs to be one rock that is 0.6 miles wide to hit Earth, to completely destroy it (which is one of a terrifying thought).
And the publication also reports that it may have been a larger rock around six miles wide that was responsible for wiping out the dinosaurs.
5 We Don’t Understand Extraterrestrial Life
Space is infinite, and like I mentioned before, we have no way of knowing what is really out there, and because space is so vast, it is entirely conceivable that there are aliens living somewhere outside of our reach (it would be almost sad and narcissistic to think that humans are the only intelligent form of life that has ever existed). But what makes this scary is, if movies have made us believe anything, then it’s that these beings seldom want to come in peace.
But that’s my point exactly, we have no idea what is actually out there, and what the intentions of these beings would be, were we to interact with them — which is probably why we are constantly searching for some signs of intelligent life outside of Earth.
4 Rogue Planets!
There was once the belief that there were nine planets in our solar system, but Pluto has since been demoted, which leaves us with eight. This is fascinating, but it’s not creepy; what is, is that there are reportedly huge rogue planets that no longer orbit around something (they are unbound by the gravity of a star).
These planets are reportedly the size of Jupiter, and there are thought to be more rogue planets than stars (which is a heck of a lot for anyone wondering). Although, according to SkyandTelescope, new data could prove that there are actually less rogue planets than scientists initially thought.
Apparently, these rogue planets were once in orbit but have been pushed out of it, and some are headed on a collision course with other planets (if you believe reports then Planet X is headed for Earth).
3 The Universe Is Expanding
Another creepy thing about space that no one ever tells you is that there are a lot of changes happening, and according to reports, the universe is actually expanding faster than scientists originally thought. This means that the galaxies outside of ours are getting even further away, and the farther away a galaxy is, the faster it is moving away from us; which basically means our future hopes of exploring different galaxies are even more unlikely.
According to EnkiVillage, space is being pushed apart, and while there is no clear-cut reason as to why, this could be because there are subatomic particles which are constantly being created and destroyed. This energy reportedly travels through space and produces an energy vacuum, which pushes space apart.
2 A Cloud Of Hydrogen Gas Is Headed Towards Us
There is a gigantic cloud of hydrogen gas known as Smith’s Cloud (it was first discovered in the '60s by a doctoral astronomy student named Gail Smith) that is headed for our galaxy at nearly 700,000 miles per hour. This high-velocity cloud is different to the others that exist because according to NASA, its trajectory is well-known.
But before you start pulling out your hair and planning your escape, it will be millions of years, 30-million to be exact, before this cloud enters the Milky Way (and we will be long gone) but what will happen when it does arrive will be quite spectacular: It will result in a burst of star formation, which could make up to nearly two-million new suns. So take away what you want from this.
1 There’s A Face On Mars
There is a lot of fascination surrounding the Red Planet, and it could be the one other planet in our galaxy that could be livable. And if there is one place on the Mars that you may have heard of it’s the rocky Cydonia region because it’s not just of scientific interest, but it's also found its way into popular culture after a human-looking face was photographed there. And it’s pretty chilling.
The photos were taken by the Viking 1 mission in 1976, but don’t get too excited, because according to NASA, the face is just a huge rock formation and it was shadows that gave it a nose, mouth, and eyes. And when they went back 25 years later (in 2001) and snapped a photo of the true appearance of this face, well, let’s just say it was pretty disappointing.