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6 Things You Thought You Knew About Space That Aren’t Actually True

Get your facts straight!

| 2 min read

Get your facts straight!


You can’t travel through an asteroid belt

Given what we see in movies, you might think that the asteroids in our asteroid belt are packed very close together. Fortunately, that isn’t true — they are actually many miles apart.

“Fortunately, the asteroid belt is so huge that, despite its large population of small bodies, the chance of running into one is almost vanishingly small — far less than one in a billion,” said Space Daily.

Space probes Pioneer 11, Voyagers 1 and 2, Galileo, Cassini, and New Horizons have all made it through without incidence.

Mercury is the hottest planet because it is closest to the sun

Mercury is the closest planet to the sun, but it is not the hottest; that title belongs to Venus. Venus’ thick atmosphere means that its average temperature is 900 degrees Fahrenheit (480 degrees Celsius) as opposed to Mercury’s, which is 332 degrees Fahrenheit (167 degrees Celsius).

The sun is a big ball of fire

Fire needs oxygen to burn. Nuclear fusion, which is what happens at the sun’s core, is what gives off the heat and light we depend on the sun for.

SEE ALSO: 8 “Out of this World” Space Facts

“The pressure and high temperature in the sun’s core cause the hydrogen atoms stick together and fuse into a helium atom. This energy is then radiated across the solar system in heat and light. 700 million tons of hydrogen are converted into helium every single second,” according to AllTime10s.

The sun is yellow

This is another myth about the sun. Although it appears yellow because of the color distortion as light passes through the atmosphere, it is actually white.

Liquids instantly freeze in space

Although the temperature in space can be as cold as -454.81 degrees Fahrenheit (-270.45 Celsius), in the absence of much atmospheric pressure, water boils at the average temperature of the human body. If you were to go out in space without a spacesuit on, liquids on the surface of your body like saliva and tears would bubble and evaporate. However, the fact isn't completely wrong; after boiling, the vapor droplets would form ice crystals.

There is a dark side of the moon

Both sides of the moon are equally well lit. The “dark side” refers to the side of the moon that was unknown to us until the Soviet probe, Luna 3, photographed it in 1959. Since it takes the same amount of time for the moon to turn on itself as it does for it to turn around the Earth, the same side is always pointed towards us.

Hat tip: AllTime10s and
Editor's note (March 14): The article originally stated that there is no was to transfer heat from an object in space when in fact radiation is still a factor. To reflect this error, the fifth myth has been updated from "You'd freeze if you went out into space without a spacesuit" to "Liquids instantly freeze in space."
Editor's note (April 5): The average temperature of Mercury's atmosphere has been corrected.

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