It’s a weird world that we live in, that’s true, but our neighbouring planets, our solar system, our galaxy and universe are even more difficult to comprehend.
So how do you find out about them? You ask Google of course.
And once you ask Google about these things, we then ask Google what you asked it!
We interrogated Google search data in October 2016 to find out what questions people are asking about space. Here are some of the questions that all you guys out there in webland Googled, all laid out for you in a nicely designed image.
I made this and I am proud of it.
Take a look at the questions below and then delve deeper into the answers in the detailed explanations that I’ve dropped in at the bottom of this blog post. Yeah, because it’s pretty difficult to answers these big ass questions in just a few sentences through the medium of a pretty image.
I know, I know. I didn’t think the whole image thing through, right?.
Questions that people are frantically punching into Google include:
What is the universe expanding into?
The quickest way to answer this question is to say that the question itself is nonsense. Straight up. The universe is all that we know, it’s the all-encompassing entirety of everything, so there is nothing beyond it. It is not expanding, not in the physical sense. It’s better to describe the universe as something that is stretching. Our teeny tiny grasp of the enormous magnitude of things works better if we think of the stretch.
It’s kinda like baking a cake.
Back in the 1960s, some dude whose name I can’t remember suggested that it’s like sticking a currant cake in the oven. Shove a load of self raising flour in it and once things get cooking it all starts expanding and the currants move further apart.
Even though there’s the same amount of stuff there, everything kinda stretches away from everything else. If you’re sat on one currant, all the other currants are moving away from you in all directions, all at the same time. The only thing is, this big old universal currant cake has no edges. Word.
So, when somebody asks you what the universe is expanding into, you can tell them. It’s a big ass currant cake that’s been popped in the on. But with no edges, it just ain’t expanding into anything, it’s just stretching. And the extent of its stretch is finite. One day it’s gonna twang back in on itself. But that’s for another day.
What does space smell like?
Now, Tom Jones has been able to help us out here.
No, not your gran’s favourite Welsh crooner, that’s a different Tom Jones. This Tom is the dude who spent more than eleven years with NASA and flew on four space shuttle missions to Earth orbit, installed the American Destiny laboratory on the International Space Station and spent nearly two months working and living in space.
Yup, that Tom Jones.
Well, he says that whenever he got out of his spacesuit in the airlock after an EVA (spacewalk), he smelled a trace of a peculiar, almost acrid odor. He says it’s like hot electrical insulation burning or gunpowder.
Other astronauts have likened the smell to meat being seared or burning charcoal. Yup, it’s one big BBQ party up there. Bring your own beer, cos space ain’t paying your tab.
Which space probe is furthest from Earth?
As described my kickass infographic above, Voyager 1 is now the furthest space probe from Earth, giving it legs way faster than Pioneer 10, which it overtook way back in February 1998.
What is space jelly?
OK, it’s time to get a bit foolish.
Space jelly, star jelly, star rot, star shot or – my personal favourite – moon poo is a squidgy gelatinous substance sometimes found on grassland and on the lower branches of trees. According to folklore, it is deposited on the earth during meteor showers. And nobody knows how or why it appears. Nobody knows this freaky stuff.
It’s described by that weighty tome we know as wikipedia, as a translucent or grayish-white gelatin that tends to evaporate shortly after having “fallen.”
Reports of the substance date back to the 14th century and have continued to the present day.
It turns out it’s not all that spooky, kids. Just like them ghosts and goblins that scare your socks off when mommy turns out the light, there is a far more mundane explanation for its metaphorical chain rattling and howling.
It’s actually the remains of frog spawn within the glands in the oviducts of frogs and toads once they’ve been munched on. Birds and mammals will eat the animals but not the oviducts which. They just leave this stuff lying around and once it comes into contact with moisture, it swells and distorts leaving a vast pile of jelly. That’s all this crazy stuff is.
What space technology is used in everyday life?
Why do we call our galaxy the Milky Way?
Why is our solar system flat?
So, you’ve learned some stuff, yeah? Not just some rubbish stuff that is of no worth. This goldmine is pure wealth. You now know the questions that people are Googling about space. And you know the answers.
Dang! You’re like a walking, talking, dribbling version of Google.
Now go out there and astound, dumbfound and become renowned.