There's so much we don't know about the Universe we live in. And from what we do know, it's safe to conclude that it's trying to kill us. From deadly radiation to exploding supernovae, the Universe is dangerous enough to make even the most courageous astronauts reconsider before they decide to leave our beautiful, protective atmosphere. And yet, the human race is decided on going out and exploring space. Here's several facts about it that can simultaneously horrify and fascinate you.
The Speed of Light
Many of us like to imagine ourselves traveling across galaxies at the speed of light, which is about 300 000 km/s or 186 000 mi/s. The reality may turn out to be less fun and more fatal. When they come into contact with an object moving that fast, hydrogen atoms become highly radioactive particles. They would be capable of easily killing the crew and destroying the electronics on board the ship. Just several clouds of hydrogen gas, floating across the cosmos, can have the radiation output equal to a proton ray created by the Large Hadron Collider.
Each year, our natural satellite gets 1 1/2″ (4 cm) farther away. At first glance, this may not seem like much but it could have devastating consequences for our planet in the future. Even thought Earth's gravitational field should be strong enough to keep our Moon from drifting off into space, the growing distance between them will ultimately slow our planet's rotation to the point where a day will last longer than a month, while the ocean tides become locked in place.
Usually formed when a massive star dies, a black hole has such a powerful gravitational field that it captures light and distorts time itself. A single small black hole in our solar system would be capable of throwing the planets off their orbits and ripping our Sun to pieces. And if that wasn't terrifying enough, black holes have been observed hurtling through the universe at millions of miles per second, leaving only signs of devastation in their wake.
Dark Matter and Dark Energy
In truth we know very little about our Universe. We can only see about 5% of the stuff it's made of. About 1/4 of the Universe is composed of dark matter - something we can't see but know is there due to the effects it has on its surroundings. Everything else is dark energy, which is essentially an enigma. However, we know that it plays a key role in our Universe's expansion.
The Expanding Sun
As the Sun's reserves of thermonuclear fuel wane, it will become even hotter. It is going to release so much heat that it is going to eventually burn away Earth's atmosphere and evaporate the oceans completely. Once it uses up its fuel, the Sun will expand outward, turning into a red giant and swallowing up the Earth.