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Space Myths and Facts

Realities of 5 Common Space Myths

As science and technology evolve into the future, it's likely many of the truths we know today will be debunked in the years to come. Astronomy is one science that's in constant flux based on new research and findings from satellite image evidence from across the solar system. In the last decade alone, beliefs on Mars, Pluto, and the far reaches of the universe have changed, as new facts and research filters in. Place your bets on which of these space realities will have changed within the next five years.

  1. The larger the planet, the bigger the mass — Accounting for 99 percent of the mass in the solar system, the sun, not any of the big planets like Jupiter, is actually the largest object in our solar system.
  2. Black holes are monsters — Despite what you've seen in movies and cartoons, black holes aren't cosmic vacuums engulfing innocent space matter. Materials that fall into black holes likely collided with another object already orbiting the black hole. The collision alters the original matter's orbit, becoming susceptible to the huge gravity force of a black hole.
  3. No one cares about Pluto — Scientists still love Pluto! One of NASA's fastest spacecrafts called New Horizons is currently en route to the dwarf planet. NASA is eager to study the largely uncharted and presumably icy materials of Pluto, as it's believed there are thousands of similar dwarf planets in the same Kuiper Belt region beyond Neptune. As it travels to its scheduled 2015 rendezvous with Pluto, New Horizons will be in electronic hibernation using less power than a pair of household lightbulbs.
  4. Water flowed on Mars — This one still remains a bit of a mystery. While NASA does report water on Mars is "either held in the soil or takes the form of ice at the planet's north and south poles," recent research may also show another source for the channels carving through Mars's surface. It's likely that some of the river-like beds found on Mars were carved from lava flow, in addition to waterways. A study of one of the planet's main channels found terraced walls and secondary channels branching from the main artery, which are both indicative of lava flow. With consistent new reports being published on the topic, the latest suggesting salt water flows in Mars's warmest months, it may be too early to decisively confirm the background behind the mysteries of Mars's surface; the truth is more complex than first believed.
  5. Asteroid fields are the Minesweeper of space — Han Solo's skilled navigation of an asteroid field in The Empire Strikes Back may not be so impressive after all. Asteroids actually travel roughly one million miles away from one another, making it conceivably simple to dodge them, as long as Imperial spacecraft are not also chasing you.

Source: NASA

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