9 Myths about Space We Need to Stop Believing ...

A lot of sci-fi books, movies and games out there seem to present various space "facts" as genuine, and it's sometimes hard to believe they are simply not true. While exploring the vast reaches of space in future years and centuries, our descendents may actually laugh at a lot of these myths about space that we once thought were so real.

1. The Sun as a Ball of Fire

(Your reaction) Thank you!

Pretty close to home, this is one of the myths about space that everyone seems to buy into. The reality, however, is that the sun isn’t actually burning – it’s glowing. This is quite an important difference, since the reactions inside the sun are nuclear, not chemical in nature.

2. Space Travel and Distances

(Your reaction) Thank you!

While sci-fi makes space travel look relatively fast and easy, it actually takes even light about 4.3 minutes to reach us from Mars, and that’s β€œonly” about 78 million kilometers. With our current technology, it would take the fastest known craft about 150-200 days to reach the Red Planet.

3. Flying through a Meteor Shower

(Your reaction) Thank you!

Meteor showers and asteroid belts are considered deadly for space travelers. In reality, if we look at the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, objects are hundreds of thousands of miles apart, and the chances of hitting anything is about 1 billion to one.

4. Sound in Space?

(Your reaction) Thank you!

This is probably one of the most ridiculous myths about space ever encountered. Sound needs a denser medium to travel, such as the gas in our atmosphere, and in space you can’t find two air molecules that close together.

5. The Dark Side of the Moon

(Your reaction) Thank you!

Many still believe that the moon has a side that has never seen the sun and is always covered in darkness. The truth is that the moon is tidally locked with our planet, which means that the same side will always be facing the Earth, not the Sun. There's no dark side of the moon, as all sides receive sunlight at various points.

6. We Explode in Space

(Your reaction) Thank you!

Like many other space myths, this is another overinflated idea – literally. While sci-fi movies might tell us we’d explode in the vacuum of space without a suit, science shows that a person could potentially survive space for about 30 seconds, and there would be no explosions involved.

7. Is It Warmer in Summer Because We Are Closer to the Sun?

(Your reaction) Thank you!

Nope. The winter cold and summer warmth are actually due to the tilting of the Earth’s axis. The Earth’s distance from the Sun plays an extremely small role here, despite our planet’s slightly elliptical orbit (which isn’t a myth).

8. Black Holes

(Your reaction) Thank you!

Black holes seem pretty scary, especially with sci-fi epics portraying the way they can destroy entire planets in mere minutes. However, they are only as strong as their mass allows them to be, and if our Earth was orbiting a black hole as heavy as the sun placed in the same location, our orbit would not be disrupted at all.

9. The Great Wall of China Seen from Space

(Your reaction) Thank you!

The Apollo astronauts’ ability to see the Great Wall of China from the Moon is probably one of the widest circulated myths about space out there. The truth is, it’s hard enough to see the Great Wall from low Earth orbit, and it is simply impossible to view it from a greater distance without a telescope.

This list might come as a disappointment to some, but the reality of it is that space is a grand enough marvel even without these myths. Can you think of anything more to add to the list?

Sources:
iflscience.com
universetoday.com
cracked.com
physlink.com
scifi.stackexchange.com
nytimes.com

Please rate this article
(click a star to vote)