Space. Deep space carries with it the same fears as the deep ocean, except space is unfathomably big. If our tiny human brains could barely comprehend the vastness of the ocean, of which more than 80% is unmapped, they would positively explode trying to get a grip on how big space is. Anyway, here are a bunch of space trivia facts that are both cool–and might leave you with some cosmic dread.
1. On average, Mercury is the closest planet to Earth — not Venus or Mars.
2. Sunsets on Mars are blue, thanks to all the dust in the sky.
3. The sun is the most perfect sphere ever observed in nature.
4. There are many worlds in our solar system with more water than earth.
5. Jupiter has the largest ocean in our solar system. It’s believed a deep ocean of liquid metallic hydrogen is found about halfway to the planet’s center.
6. Nearly all of the moons of Uranus are named for characters from Shakespeare and Alexander Pope (Almost all other moons are named for mythological figures.)
7. Half of Earth’s water might be older than the Sun.
8. The observable universe is about 93 billion light years in diameter. Remember what we said about vastness?
9. Assuming you have perfect viewing conditions, there are about 2,500 stars visible in the night sky. The observable universe has countless billions, so imagine the pinhole we’re looking at space through.
10. When the Moon is at its farthest point from Earth, you could fit every planet next to each other in between the Earth and the Moon.
11. That distance is 252,000 miles.
12. It takes around 8 minutes for light from the Sun to get to Earth. So if the Sun just decided it wanted to turn off we wouldn’t know for 8 minutes.
13. The Solar System extends over 1,000 times farther than the distance from the Sun to Pluto.
14. The Boötes Void is an empty void in space nearly 330 million light years in diameter. It is known to contain only around 60 galaxies–where a space that large should have over 2,000.
15. Mercury is shrinking as a result of its cooling after its formation. Scientists originally thought it would become a planetary raisin, but recent developments suggest otherwise.
16. Neutron stars are super dense. A single tablespoon of neutron star would weigh the same as Mount Everest (a billion tons). For perspective, a tablespoon of the Sun would be about 5 pounds.
17. Every now and then black holes fart out gamma-ray bursts. The average gamma-ray burst releases as much energy as the Sun will in its entire lifespan within a couple seconds. If one happened to hit Earth, we would all die and there would be no way to prepare for it.
18. A space crew drinks 730 liters of recycled pee and sweat over the course of one year. That’s about 193 gallons. Over 4 bathtubs.
19. The Moon is drifting away from Earth by about 1.5 inches per year.