15 Facts About Life, The Universe, And Everything, As Douglas Adams famously pointed out, space is big. Really big. Unimaginably big. In fact, space is so big that it’s easy to forget that we’re actually unimaginably small within it. And the many forces at play in the universe create terrifying, awe-inspiring sights more than we can possibly discover and understand in a lifetime. All that makes life a ceaseless source of wonder and mystery.
And every time we feel like we have something figured out, it only seems to unveil newer, stranger mysteries. Every corner we explore , whether it’s beyond our atmosphere or only seen through a microscope, reveals fresh surprises that can simultaneously inspire us and skate us to our core.
1: The largest mountain in the solar system.
At 16 miles high, it dwarfs both Mount Everest and Mauna Loa — and with a diameter of about 374 miles, it’s roughly the same size as the state of Arizona.
2: NASA’s Voyager 1 has recorded the first sounds from space.
3: At some point in the next 50 years, a star in the Milky Way will explode.
4: Space smells like barbecue, hot metal, and fuel.
The scent, reported by astronauts taking off their helmets after space walks, is believed to be caused by dying stars.
5: The Milky Way may contain up to 100 billion planets in the “Goldilocks Zone.”
6: A meteorite that struck California in 2012 was found to contain some of the oldest substances in the solar system.
7: Scientists discovered evidence of 100,000 year-old life forms in a sub-glacial lake in Antarctica.
The mud at the bottom of the lake contained microbes living in some of the harshest conditions on Earth.
8: The winds on Neptune blow up to 1,200 mph, much faster than the speed of sound.
9: It takes about 250 million years for our solar system to complete an orbit of the center of the Milky Way.
10: Scientists have harnessed the power of sewage.
11: Researchers have discovered where in the brain imagination occurs.
It’s not actually one area, but a spread out network of “mental workspace.”
12: Volcanic eruptions on Jupiter’s moon Io go hundreds of miles up.
13: Without oxygen, hydrogen would rise up and escape Earth’s atmosphere.
14: On Venus the rain is sulphuric acid and snows heavy metals.
15: Evidence shows orangutans will plan travel routes a day in advance.
They’ll also communicate their plans to others in their community.