Neutron stars – atoms with size of mountains
While we know that atom is incredibly small, this is not valid of you are on a neutron star. As most of us know, sun produces its energy by fusing hydrogen atoms into helium atoms. In bigger stars, this fusion stuff carry on for helium, producing carbons and so on until they reach iron. The fusion of iron atoms does not yield radiation energy needed to counteract the gravity of the star itself and resulted the star to collapse towards its core and finally exploded. The explosion, which is called supernova will create either black hole (if its big enough) or a neutron star. A neutron star has a gravity so massive, that at its core, even the quantum mechanical repulsion of electron is overcame and the proton fused with electrons to form neutron – hence its name. since its only neutrons at its core, a neutron star, as big as it can possibly be, is an atom, not a collection of atoms.
The most immortal dude on the planet
In 2007, NASA put Tardigrades, or more familiarly known as water bears in the space shuttle and opened the air-locked doors, leaving the water bears exposed to open space and unfiltered UV radiation for 10 days straight. After 10 days, the water bears were collected and they miraculously revived and carry out their life function – eat, reproduce and respire, as if open space is their bedroom they just woke out of. These little bugs hibernated at an extreme level that they were basically dead and have an option to ‘come back to life’ when the condition allows. Afterwards, the bugs were subjected to more harsh exposure such as low temperatures closing to absolute zero, high pressures – 6 times the pressure that the deepest sea on Earth can produce and even gamma rays enough to kill elephants. The water bears just sleep through it all like nothing.
What if there is no moon?
One: the tides will change. Basically we have 2 low tides and 2 high tides per day, with regards to the relative position of moon and Sun to the Earth. The Earth water bulge will always be affected by the Sun and also to the direction of the Moon. Taking the Moon out will only leave us with 1 low and 1 high tide per day. Two: the term night owls will vanish. Nocturnal animals that uses vision like owls and cats uses the light reflected by the Moon to see at night. No moon means there is no light in the night, leaving only bats with echolocation to rule the night. Three: there will be no 4 seasons, just the 6 months of night and 6 months of days. Moon is also responsible to stabilize our axial tilt. Planets with small moons are gravitationally affected by the Jupiter and wobbles out of its axis. Planets with no moon like Uranus, will spin with its axis of spin pointing towards the Sun all of the time leaving one of its hemispheres at night at all times and the other at day at all times.
Aurora over Malaysia
In the era of Cold War, where United States of America and the USSR taunted each other but never directly attacks, one of their game was to send nuclear bombs and blow it up there. One of the findings of these seemly extreme fireworks show is that the explosion – although it does not flare because the lack of oxygen, created a high-altitude EMP. The EMP is extremely powerful that it can disable electronics hundreds of kilometers away and influence the way electrons flow due to the sudden release of charged particles. The EMP can cause lots of damage, considering how reliant we are to the electronics in these days. However, although one might detonate in space high above us in the night and causes blackout and stuff, we the distribution of charged particles can actually cause an aurora. Too bad our phones will also kaput at that time to put any picture of the aurora into Instagram.
Forget Mars, Europa is the way to go
Europa is one of the Jupiter’s moon. Earlier this year, Hubble detected a plume of oxygen and hydrogen (most likely water) jets out of Europa’s surface. Europa is not the only moon with water, others like Ganymede and Enceladus also have water content but Europa attracts the attention of researches due to its colored cracks and lines on its surface. This linings might be the proof that the water underneath its icy surface (if there really is a sea of water underneath the surface of Europa) is with contact to the rock beneath it. This hypothesis my enable life to exist on it based on our findings of life around hydrothermal vents on Earth.
“To which floor, sir?”
“The Moon, please.”
In regards to science fiction being fiction, it does not necessarily stay fictitious for some cases. Inspired by their younger geek days, we have cooler tech popping up more often these days, unlike some major disappointments e.g. the “hover board”.
Alright space geeks, time to rejoice over the kind of plausible but sort of crazy idea—space elevator. Good news first, it may actually materialise! Bad news, it’s expensive, risky and is a one shot experiment. It wouldn’t be your ordinary elevator with bad music, you may be looking at the debris, space radiation, its power, etc. Hey, don’t be too hopeless with the news. Hope is all humanity has and it powers us through to realise our dreams, especially my dream to annoy people with bad elevator music for the whole trip to space.
Hey neighbour, got salt?
In midst of your existential crisis popping up every so often when you just happen to think too deep at night, scientists have found an Earth-like planet just a little over 4.2 light years away. Little fun fact, it is in the habitable zone and it orbits around Proxima Centauri (a smaller, more adorable Sun). That rules out our checklist, but shouldn’t there be more? Unfortunately, we don’t have that much information on our beloved 4.2 light years away neighbour, Proxima Centauri b. Scientists are still in the dark but this recent discovery does have us all hyped up. So, put that spacesuit back into your closet and leave it in your will to your great grandkids because we aren’t going to travel like Captain Kirk does anytime soon. It’s alright, put on your 3D glasses and we can still watch Star Trek.
R.I.P. Earth 2116 In loving memory of our home
We know we are at that long rebellious phase with our Mother Nature. These past few decades, we’ve not been caring for what’s she has done for us all these years. We’ve been tearing her heart apart, taking everything she has gently given and literally throwing trash at her. Now, here comes her death when we will shed tears of blood, apologising for all the times we should have listen and appreciated her time with us. It’s always the same scenario for non-filial children, weeping only at their mothers’ departure. In this case, her utter destruction. Or at least what Professor Stephen Hawking predicted that would happen in another 1000 years.
Alright planets, who’s up for adoption?
Don’t be too blind to the ugly of the ISS
At some point, somewhere in this vast Earth, a kid would write their “ambition” essay on being an astronaut. Zero gravity, mic drop, that’s it. Being an astronaut surpasses all jobs. I apologise for the rude intrusion of bad news, you may go blind or maybe partially blind. According to reports, astronauts experience sight problems after their International Space Station (ISS) missions. This depressing news has been a worry for NASA as they have eyes set on Mars in the future. As tests are underway, NASA is working their best to fix this issue as to not lose sight of their mission to Mars.
To infinity and beyond!
Speaking of actually travelling to other space systems, it is quite impossible to happen within our lifetime but scientists do work forward to launch the next generation into the final frontier. One of the projects pushed forward by Stephen Hawking and his team is a laser array that will propel space ships. This photonic propulsion will definitely allow the spaceships to shed all the mass of the thrust it had to previously carry. Provided that scientist manage to build this large laser array, we will be looking at travelling to Mars more often and at a much shorter time period. We’re looking at the possibility of arriving in Mars within a few days. What of other star systems? Surely that will be the reality of life some time down the road. The future is looking to be very bright for us with this new laser array.