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That Amazing Area We Call Space

Outer space is an area so big that it is beyond our comprehension.

By Unravelling the UniversePublished 4 months ago 3 min read
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That Amazing Area We Call Space
Photo by Graham Holtshausen on Unsplash

British spelling.

From our perspective, outer space is a zone that seems to go on forever. We live our lives on the surface of a massive rock and have no real concept of what space feels like.

We are accustomed to gravity pulling us down; in our case, that gravitational force is coming from the centre of the Earth. Without gravity, there would be no Earth; it is the force that keeps everything together.

The distance from the surface of the Earth to what is recognised as the beginning of space is just 100 kilometres; that imaginary boundary is known as the Karman line. Above that line, there is no appreciable air to breathe, and the blue sky colour gives way to black.

Photo by ActionVance on Unsplash

An up-to-date estimate for the number of people that have ever existed on our planet is roughly 117 billion; 8 billion are still alive today. But, considering the vast number of people that have walked the Earth, very few have made the journey to space. As of 2024, over 600 people have escaped the gravitational pull of the Earth and reached space.

The vacuum of space must be a very quiet place, as sound waves need air, liquids, or solids to travel through. That is not to say that space is empty; there is gas and dust, but it is in minuscule amounts. We can see denser areas in outer space as galaxies.

No one knows exactly how big outer space is. Powerful telescopes can see objects that are over 13 billion light-years away. The light from those distant objects has been travelling towards us at almost 300,000 kilometres per second for over 13 billion years. Yes, it is hard for us to make sense of the vast distances.

Photo by Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash

The universe continues to expand, speeding up as time goes by. Scientists have calculated that the universe could be 93 billion light-years in diameter at this time. A light-year is the distance light travels in one year and is equivalent to 9.46 trillion kilometres. One trillion is 1 followed by 12 zeros.

Mass is defined as how much matter or stuff there is in an object.

Imagine a steel ball. Now send the ball to the Moon, Neptune, or even farther out into space, and its mass would stay the same. Weight is different; it can change if the conditions change.

The weight of an object is caused by the force of gravity acting on it. An object’s weight depends on how much mass it has and the strength of the gravity that is pulling on it.

The Earth’s gravity is trying to pull me down to its centre, so my weight here on Earth is 80kg. If I took the next flight to the Moon, my weight there would be just over 13kg because the strength of the Moon’s gravity is much less than that of the Earth.

On Mars, I would weigh a little over 30 kg, and it was possible to be on the sun, which I am not recommending! I would weigh an incredible 2,166kg.

The farther away we go from the Earth, the weaker its gravity will be. I could say that I would weigh zero in deep space, but I would always be gravitationally attracted to something, albeit a very small attraction.

Everything on the Earth — around it and inside it — is governed by gravity.

The end.

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You may find my easy-to-understand stories about the universe and life interesting and educational.

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spacesciencehumanityevolutionastronomy
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About the Creator

Unravelling the Universe

We can only imagine what our early ancestors thought as they gazed up at the night sky—were they curious about what the heavens had to hide? 

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