Space
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Mind-Blowing Facts About Space That Sound Made Up, But Are Totally 100% Real

Updated September 23, 2021 1.6k votes 281 voters 13k views16 items

List RulesVote up the space facts you're most likely to tell someone else just so you can sound like a smartypants.

Space is super weird. It smells funny, it’s full of odd shapes, and it’s much more gross than you could have ever imagined. There are so many surprising facts about outer space that just seem made up, like the fact that it smells like raspberries, or that Saturn’s rings disappear. As weird as that space trivia sounds, it’s 100% true. Historical theories about space are absolutely bonkers, but as bananas as they sound, they’re not far off from some of the surprising space facts that you’ll find on this round up of super weird ephemera about the solar system.

Outer space is super creepy. It’s an empty expanse of dust, gaseous beings, and dead satellites floating in their own graveyards. You may find many of the following space facts to be awe inspiring, but there are a few pieces of knowledge on here that will definitely make you change your mind about booking a ticket to Mars any time soon. Unless you like the idea of midnight ice bursts and the possibility of suffocating in your sleep.

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    Saturn's Rings Have A Habit Of Disappearing

    Video: YouTube

    Saturn really is the bad boy of the solar system. No one knows how long a day is on the planet, it's magnetic axis is hard to measure, there's a mysterious hexagon on its north pole... and its rings disappear every once in a while. In proportion to the size of Saturn, its rings are razor thin. The rings are are about 175,000-miles across, and only 3,200-feet thick. Because of this ratio, when you look at Saturn's rings face on, they completely disappear. Space Probe Cassini photographed the rings at various stages and once the images were compiled the disappearance of Saturn's rings was fairly awe inspiring.

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  • Photo: Kevin M. Gill / flickr / CC-BY 2.0
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    No One Knows Exactly How Long A Day Is On Saturn

    This seems like one of the first things scientists should have figured out about Saturn, one of the most recognizable planets in the solar system. The reason behind our confusion over how time passes comes from the changing data that we have on the planet. In 1981, Voyager 2 calculated that Saturn's rotation took 10 hours 39 minutes. When space probe Cassini arrived at the Saturn system in 2004, the rotation period was recorded at 10 hours, 47 minutes. The problem with Saturn is that it's a gas giant mass and there are no features to record on the planet's surface. And even though there are clouds, their trip around the planet isn't related to the gas giant's rotation. Astronomers are attempting to look at the magnetic axis of Saturn, but that's proving harder than researchers initially thought possible. 

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  • Photo: NASASolarSystem / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0
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    It Rains Liquid Methane On Titan

    What were once believed to be thousand year storms, the methane rain that carves into Titan actually occur annually over Saturn's most well known moon. It so happens that one Titan year is close to 30 Earth years, but that's still far less time than originally believed. The methane rain cuts into the moon's icy surface to create mountains, rivers, and volcanoes. The storms weren't observed as much as they were calculated by UCLA scientists using data from the Cassini space probe, which was able to monitor three of the moon's four seasons. 

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  • Photo: Kordite / flickr / CC-BY-NC 2.0
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    Some Old Satellites Are Sent To A 'Graveyard Orbit'

    What happens to satellites when they live past their prime? Some satellites fall to earth in a glorious display of scientific destruction, but many of the former NASA machines are pushed into a supersynchronous orbit also known as a "graveyard orbit." These orbits are several hundred kilometers above synchronous orbit, so as not to create a loose collection of space garbage that can create an issue for any working satellites in the area. As it turns out, it's much easier to push a satellite into a junk orbit rather than bring it down to earth, otherwise known as "de-orbiting." To push a dead satellite into the graveyard orbit, engineers simply use the last bit of fuel in its tank and a slight change in velocity to move it out of the way of functioning satellites.

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