what-common-space-myths-are-really-debunked-by-actual-astronauts-and-science

What Common Space Myths Are Really Debunked by Actual Astronauts and Science

There are some persistent myths about space that don’t seem to go away. But these common myths have been debunked by astronauts and science.

There are many things about space we simply do not understand. As very few of us have actually been there, this has led to many myths about space developing and persisting through the ages. science space science cool science space and science universe space science

Whilst it may not be possible to debunk all of them, these 7 have been blown out the water thanks to the work and experiences of Astronauts and science in general, science space science cool science space and science universe space science

1. All comets have tails

space myths debunked comet
Source: Joel Tonyan/Flickr science space science cool science space and science universe space science

It is a commonly held myth, believe it or not, that all comets have tails. This is simply not true.

In fact, most of the time comets are very difficult things to find. Comets tend to spend large amounts of time in the darkness of space. science space science cool science space and science universe space science

Here, far from the influence of stars, they remain frozen and relatively inactive. They only develop tails when they approach a star, like our Sun. science space science cool science space and science universe space science

At this point, they warm up and develop a cloudy atmosphere (called a Coma) as well as their distinctive tails. These tails, as you’d expect, always point away from any star whose influence they are under. science space science cool science space and science universe space science

These tails are effectively blown away from the comet by solar winds and solar radiation. In fact, the ‘tail’ can actually be ahead of the comet as it flies away from the Sun! science space science cool science space and science universe space science

2. Earth-asteroid impacts are very rare

space myths debunked asteroid
Source: NASA/Planetary Science/Wikimedia Commons science space science cool science space and science universe space science

Asteroid (aka meteorite once they survive entry into the Earth’s atmosphere) impacts are not all extinction events. Whilst there have been some history-changing impacts in the past, most are never seen or even noticed. science space science cool science space and science universe space science

But these are very rare events aren’t they? The truth is that asteroid/meteorite impacts on Earth are a very common occurrence. science space science cool science space and science universe space science

But don’t fret, the vast majority of these tend to be small Near Earth Objects (NEOs) that usually burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere before ever threatening to wipe out life as we know it. science space science cool science space and science universe space science

In fact, it is estimated that 37 to 78 thousands tonnes of space debris fall to Earth every year. Of that, an estimated 100 tonnes of sand-sized particles fall to Earth every day! science space science cool science space and science universe space science

A large proportion of these tends to consist of little asteroids (meteorites) called bolides that impact the Earth’s atmosphere frequently. These are generally between 1 and 20 m in diameter. science space science cool science space and science universe space science

That’s not to say we shouldn’t be prepared for the next big one according to former Astronaut Ed Lu. science space science cool science space and science universe space science

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