There’s nothing like the farthest reaches of outer space to inspire a sense of mystery and wonder in people. That said, some of the secrets of the universe aren’t exactly as pleasant as we’d hope!
That’s the case with these 26 facts about the cosmos that most people have no idea are true. Some are legitimately creepy, others are downright gross… but after you hear them, you’ll likely start reconsidering that one-way ticket to the Mars colony!
1. Space can alter your DNA: You may have heard of astronaut Scott Kelly (right), who spent a year on the International Space Station while his identical twin brother, Mark (left), remained on Earth. Not only did Scott become taller, but even his genes had changed. Technically, they’re not identical anymore!
2. The universe’s average temperature is a little more than absolute zero—and it’s getting colder: Global warming is a major concern on Earth, but that’s not the case for the rest of the universe. Elsewhere, it’s closer to -455 degrees Fahrenheit, and it’s becoming chillier as the universe expands.
3. It’s impossible to cry in outer space: In the outer reaches of the atmosphere, tears can’t fall. Instead, they linger and build up in your eyes before forming a bubble and floating off. In other words, maybe Interstellar isn’t the most accurate space movie.
4. A supermassive black hole is currently charging through space at three million miles per hour: It’s millions of times heavier than the sun, and it originated more than four billion light years away from an even larger galaxy!
5. Time moves more quickly on Earth than in outer space: Long before space travel became a reality, Einstein proved that “time dilation” is real. Turns out, Earth’s orbit gives the lifeforms living on it an extra second every week.
6. It’s entirely possible to drown in a spacesuit: In 2013, astronaut Luca Parmitano suffered a malfunction with his equipment, causing the water it was storing to spill into his suit. Thankfully, his fellow astronauts saved him before it was too late.
7. It’s possible for galaxies to “eat” each other: In a process known as “galactic cannibalism,” large galaxies will sometimes swallow smaller ones, merging the two in the process. Can you imagine if this happened to our beloved Milky Way?
8. Just a month into orbit, pieces of your feet fall off and get lost forever: Luckily, astronauts have reported that this tends to only happen to the calloused parts of their feet. That’s one way to get a pedicure outside of the Earth’s atmosphere!
9. One day, there will no longer be lights in the night sky: You don’t have to worry about that happening anytime soon. Scientists say that the sky may no longer be populated by stars and planets trillions of years from now… and who knows what’ll become of humanity (or Earth) by then?
10. There’s no telling when a meteor could reach Earth and strike a human: In 2013, without warning, a meteor struck Russia’s Ural Mountains and the debris from the collateral damage ended up injuring hundreds of people.
These facts might make you think twice in case commercial space travel ever becomes available. Still, it can also help you appreciate how many mysteries there still are left to be discovered!
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