Black holes, boiling blood, comet tails, probes, atmospheric reentry and more. Let's take a look at ten of the most common myths about space.
There is at least one question about space that any person will answer incorrectly. Let's break down ten common myths about space.
Not many of us have been in space, and often the idea of it is information about nine planets in the solar system and vague ideas about weightlessness associated with the hair of Sandra Bullock ("Gravity"), which does not flutter in this very weightlessness. There is at least one question about space that any person will answer incorrectly. Let's break down ten common myths about space.
Perhaps one of the oldest and most widespread myths about space sounds like this: in the airless space of space, any person will explode without a special spacesuit. The logic is that since there is no pressure there, we would bloat and burst like a balloon that was inflated too much. You might be surprised to learn that humans are much more durable than balloons. We do not burst when an injection is given to us, nor do we burst in space - our bodies are too tough for a vacuum. Let's swell a little, it's a fact. But our bones, skin, and other organs are resilient enough to survive this unless someone actively tears them apart. In fact, some people have already experienced extremely low pressure conditions while working on space missions. In 1966, a man was testing a spacesuit and suddenly decompression to 36,500 meters. He passed out, but did not explode. Even survived and fully recovered.
This misconception is often used in films. How many of you have not seen someone find themselves overboard a spaceship without a suit? It quickly freezes, and if not returned back, it turns into an icicle and floats away. In reality, the opposite is happening. You will not freeze if you get into space; on the contrary, you will overheat. The water above the heat source will heat up, rise, cool down and again over again. But in space there is nothing that could accept the heat of water, which means that cooling to freezing point is impossible. Your body will work by producing heat. True, by the time you become unbearably hot, you will already be dead.
The blood boils
This myth has nothing to do with the fact that your body will overheat if you find yourself in an airless space. Instead, it is directly related to the fact that any liquid has a direct relationship with the pressure of the environment.
The higher the pressure, the higher the boiling point, and vice versa. Because it is easier for liquids to convert to gas. People with logic can guess that in space, where there is no pressure at all, liquid will boil, and blood is also liquid. The Armstrong Line runs where the atmospheric pressure is so low that the liquid will boil at room temperature. The problem is, if liquid boils in space, blood won't. Other liquids, such as saliva, will boil in your mouth. The man who was decompressed at 36,500 meters said that saliva "boiled" his tongue. Boiling this will be more like blow drying. However, blood, unlike saliva, is in a closed system, and your veins will keep it liquid under pressure. Even if you are in a complete vacuum, the fact that the blood is trapped in the system means that it will not turn into gas and escape.
The sun is where space exploration begins. This is a large ball of fire around which all the planets revolve, which is far enough away, but warms us and does not burn us. Considering that we could not exist without sunlight and heat, it can be considered surprising that there is a big misconception about the sun: that it is burning. If you've ever burned yourself with a flame, congratulations, you got more fire than the sun could give you. In reality, the Sun is a large ball of gas that emits light and heat energy during nuclear fusion, when two hydrogen atoms form a helium atom. The sun gives light and warmth, but does not give ordinary fire at all. It's just a big and warm light.
Black holes are funnels
There is another common misconception that can be attributed to the depiction of black holes in movies and cartoons. Of course, black holes are inherently "invisible", but to audiences like you and me, they are portrayed as sinister whirlpools of fate. They are depicted as two-dimensional funnels with an outlet on one side only. In reality, a black hole is a sphere. It doesn't have one side to suck you in, rather it looks like a planet with giant gravity. If you get too close to it from either side, then you will be swallowed up.
Re-entering the atmosphere
We have all seen how spacecraft re-enter the Earth's atmosphere (the so-called re-entering).
This is a serious test for the ship; as a rule, its surface is very hot. Many of us think that this is due to friction between the ship and the atmosphere, and this explanation makes sense: as if the ship was surrounded by nothing, and suddenly it starts rubbing against the atmosphere at a gigantic speed. Of course, everything will heat up. The truth is that less than a percent of the heat is removed to friction during reentry. The main reason for heating is compression, or contraction. As the ship rushes back to Earth, the air it passes through contracts and surrounds the ship. This is called a bow shock. The air that hits the ship's head pushes it. The speed of what is happening causes the air to heat up with no time for decompression or cooling. Although some of the heat is absorbed by the heat shield, it is the air around the apparatus that creates the beautiful images of re-entry into the atmosphere.
Imagine a comet for a second. Most likely, you will visualize a piece of ice rushing through space with a tail of light or fire behind. It may come as a surprise to you that the direction of the comet's tail has nothing to do with the direction in which the comet is moving. The point is that the tail of a comet is not the result of friction or destruction of the body. The solar wind heats up the comet and melts the ice, so ice and sand particles fly in the opposite direction to the wind. Therefore, the comet's tail will not necessarily follow it as a train, but it will always be directed away from the sun.
After Pluto's demotion in service, Mercury became the smallest planet. It is also the planet closest to the Sun, so it would be natural to assume that this is the hottest planet in our system. In short, Mercury is a damn cold planet. First, at the hottest point in Mercury, the temperature is 427 degrees Celsius. Even if this temperature persisted throughout the planet, Mercury would still be colder than Venus (460 degrees). The reason Venus, which is almost 50 million kilometers farther from the Sun than Mercury, is warmer lies in the atmosphere of carbon dioxide. Mercury cannot boast of anything.
Another reason has to do with its orbit and rotation. Mercury makes a complete revolution around the Sun in 88 Earth days, and a complete revolution around its axis - in 58 Earth days. Night on the planet lasts 58 days, which gives enough time for temperatures to drop to -173 degrees Celsius.
Everyone knows that the Curiosity rover is currently engaged in important research work on Mars. But people have forgotten about many of the other probes that we have sent out over the years. The Opportunity rover landed on Mars in 2003 with the goal of carrying out a 90-day mission. After 10 years, it is still working. Many people think that we have never sent probes to planets other than Mars. Yes, we sent many satellites into orbit, but put something on another planet? Between 1970 and 1984, the USSR successfully landed eight probes on the surface of Venus. True, they all burned down, thanks to the unfriendly atmosphere of the planet. The most resilient Venus rover lived for about two hours, much longer than expected.
If we go a little further into space, we will reach Jupiter. For rovers, Jupiter is an even more difficult target than Mars or Venus, as it is made up almost entirely of gas and cannot be driven. But this did not stop the scientists and they sent a probe there. In 1989, the Galileo spacecraft set out to study Jupiter and its moons, which it did for the next 14 years. He also dropped a probe on Jupiter, who sent information about the planet's composition. Although there is another ship on the way to Jupiter, the very first information is invaluable, since at that time the Galileo probe was the only probe that plunged into Jupiter's atmosphere.
This myth seems so obvious that many people do not want to convince themselves in any way. Satellites, spacecraft, astronauts and more do not experience weightlessness. True weightlessness, or microgravity, does not exist and no one has ever experienced it. Most people are impressed: how is it that astronauts and ships float, because they are far from the Earth and do not experience its gravitational pull. In fact, it is gravity that allows them to float. During a flyby of the Earth or any other celestial body with significant gravity, the object falls. But since the Earth is constantly moving, these objects do not crash into it.
Earth's gravity tries to drag the ship to its surface, but the movement continues, so the object continues to fall. It is this eternal fall that leads to the illusion of weightlessness. Astronauts inside the ship also fall, but it seems as if they are floating. The same condition can be experienced in a falling elevator or an airplane. And you can experience 23 seconds of zero gravity in an airplane freely falling at an altitude of 9000 meters.