10 book and movie misconceptions about space that you should stop believing
Tomorrow, April 12, is the day of cosmonautics. Man first visited space 60 years ago. But how much do we really know about space? As it turned out, many of our ideas about him are wrong. These myths are lovingly cultivated by Hollywood films and low-quality science fiction novels, writes Lifehacker.
1. Space is cold
In many films, you can see the following picture: a person finds himself in open space without a spacesuit (or with a damaged spacesuit) and quickly freezes, turning into a fragile ice statue, cracking from any impact.
What really is. Space has no temperature. It is neither cold nor hot - none: there is no convection or heat conduction in a vacuum. In general, a vacuum is a good thermal insulator. So astronauts have more problems with overheating than with hypothermia.
And if you find yourself in space without a spacesuit in the shadow of a planet, you will most likely experience a slight chill due to the evaporation of water from the surface of your skin. But do not freeze until solid.
2. People can burst in space
There is an opinion that in a vacuum or in an atmosphere with low pressure, for example on Mars, a person can explode like a balloon. Eyes will crawl out of their sockets, blood vessels will burst, and the hapless astronaut will turn into a bloody mess.
What really is. There is no pressure in a vacuum, and this can cause your lungs to burst if you don't exhale before jumping out of the ship. Gas bubbles will begin to appear in the blood (this is called ebullism, edema forms on the body. But human skin is too elastic, and it will not allow you to explode.
Experiments on dogs have shown that you can stay in a vacuum for up to one and a half minutes without consequences, and after that the body will quickly recover. But a longer stay is lethal due to hypoxia, that is, a lack of oxygen.
3. The moon has a dark side
When people say “the dark side of the moon,” they imagine a dark place where sunlight never falls. This is probably why the Nazis and Decepticons are building their bases there.
What really is. All sides of the moon are illuminated by the sun, and there is day and night on it - however, they last for two weeks. Nevertheless, the Earth satellite has a downside. But due to the fact that the period of rotation around our planet and around its own axis of the Moon are similar, only one of its hemisphere is visible from the Earth. And the first pictures of the other were taken by the Soviet Luna-3 spacecraft back in 1959. And there is nothing particularly mysterious there.
4. Black holes look like funnels
Because of the movies and pictures on the Internet, many people believe that black holes look like a vortex sucking in everything around them. Or like a funnel in a sink where water flows.
What really is. The black hole was first shown realistically in the movie Interstellar, based on theoretical models by physicist Kip Thorne. Later, NASA took the first picture of it using a system of eight Event Horizon Telescope radio telescopes. In reality, a black hole does not look like a funnel, but like a dark sphere surrounded by an accretion disk of gas falling on it.
5. The sun is yellow
If you ask someone to draw our luminary, a novice artist will certainly take a yellow pencil. Take a look at the sun and make sure it has that hue.
What really is. Our atmosphere makes the sun yellowish. And if you look at the images from space, it becomes clear that its color is white. But we are so used to thinking of the Sun as yellow that even scientists classify stars like it as "yellow dwarfs" just for convenience.
6. The first dog to fly into space was Laika
Who flew first into space? Of course, Yuri Gagarin. And of our smaller brothers? A dog named Laika, everyone knows that. She was an ordinary mongrel from a shelter, who went first to conquer space.
What really is. Laika was indeed the first to orbit the Earth. But there were living beings in space before her. In February 1947, the Americans sent several fruit flies (fruit flies) on a suborbital flight with the help of a captured German V-2 rocket to study the effects of space radiation on them. They flew to an altitude of 109 km, and the 80 km mark is considered the boundary of space. So the flies saw him first.
7. NASA spent billions on a pen in space
Simple pens cannot be used in space, because the ink in the rod cannot flow down there. And according to one urban legend, in order for astronauts to still be able to take notes, NASA spent $ 12 billion to invent a special pen. She is able to write upside down on any surface at temperatures from 0 to 300 ° C. Soviet cosmonauts just used pencils. Here it is, Russian savvy.
What really is. At first, both the Americans and the Russians used pencils in space, but this led to a number of problems: particles of graphite flaked off and fell into the air filters of spaceships. And the special pen was invented by Paul Fisher of the Fisher Pen Company, and he made it independently of NASA. The man sold 400 pieces to the department at $ 2,95 each.
Our cosmonauts also used such pens. At one time they were purchased for work at the Mir station. By the way, if you want, you can too acquire yourself a space pen.
8. It's hard to fly through the asteroid belt
Remember how Han Solo expertly piloted his Millennium Falcon in Star Wars to get through the asteroid belt? He managed to go around a lot of these cosmic bodies, and even broke away from the chase of the imperial fighters, although every second he risked crashing into the boulders floating everywhere.
What really is. Our solar system also has its own asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Astronomers aren't sure how many boulders there are, and put the approximate number at 10 million. But you, even without being a cool pilot like Solo, can easily fly through them. Because the average distance between asteroids in the belt is one and a half million kilometers. This is about four times the distance between the Earth and the Moon.
Therefore, in order to actually crash into an asteroid, you will need a lot of effort and careful orbital maneuvers. The likelihood of not only collision, but simply unplanned rendezvous of a spacecraft with a stone block is less than one in a billion.
9. Spaceships fly in a straight line
In the movies, spacecraft are easily moved from one place to another by simply turning straight towards the target and turning on the engines. Just like cars or ships on Earth. And if a spacecraft needs to land on a planet, it simply rushes into its atmosphere at full speed.
What really is. In reality, spacecraft move from one orbit to another along an arched Homan trajectory. And their engines are turned off. They turn on twice, for acceleration at the beginning and for deceleration at the end, the ship makes the rest of the way by inertia.
If you want to control the shuttle yourself and see the movement along the Goman's trajectory live, try playing the space simulator Kerbal Space Program. It provides a visual representation of the basics of orbital mechanics.
Yes, and one more thing: ships about to land are de-orbiting by turning their engines in the direction of travel to slow down. In Hollywood blockbusters like Prometheus, this will not be shown, so that the viewer does not have a question why the shuttles fly backwards.
10. It is warm in summer, because the Earth is closer to the Sun
The change of seasons is caused by the changing distance from the Earth to the Sun. It is logical, right? Unfortunately, sometimes not only small children, but also quite adults think so.
What really is. The Earth's orbit is not entirely round - it is elliptical. Our planet reaches perihelion (the point in its orbit closest to the Sun) in January and aphelion (the farthest point from the Sun) about six months later. If the weather depended on it, we would have summer in January and winter in July.
The seasons change due to the tilt of the Earth's axis of rotation relative to its orbital plane (ecliptic). Orbiting does cause temperature fluctuations of around 5 ° C, but not enough to make the seasons change.
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