Interesting facts about space
The nearest galaxy to our own (the Milky Way) is Andromeda, approximately 2.5 million light years away. It is also the most distant object you can see with your naked eye; you can see it on very clear nights with no light pollution. The Andromeda galaxy is approaching our own at the rate of 140 kilometers per second and will one day collide and merge to create a singular giant galaxy. Scientists estimate this will happen in around 4 billion years time.
The Soviet Union’s Space program achieved many of the initial milestones in space exploration. The first man-made structure to orbit the Earth was the USSR’s Sputnik 1 in 1957, the first human in Space was the Soviet “Yuri Gagarin” in 1961 and the first space station (Salyut 1) in 1971 was launched by the USSR. However, it was the USA and NASA who put the first men on the moon with the Apollo 11 spacecraft; Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin being the first men to step on the moon and Michael Collins the spacecraft’s pilot. Armstrong spent roughly two and a half hours outside of the spacecraft. After landing, all three crew members had to spend 21 days in quarantine where they were visited by Richard Nixon, the president of the USA at the time.
Approximately 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered in water and the land is mainly composed of iron, oxygen, silicon and magnesium with the majority of the iron being contained in the Earth’s core. The Earth tilts at around 66 degrees, bulges at the center around the equator and its rotation is slowing at a rate of 17 milliseconds every 100 years. The Earth is the only planet in the solar system not to be named after a Greek or Roman god.
With the launch of Sputnik 2 was Laika, the Siberian Husky, who was the first animal to orbit the Earth. However, it was fruit flies, not Laika, that were the very first animals ever in space. In February 1947 the United States put fruit flies in V-2 rockets in order to study the effects of radiation. The very first mammal being a monkey named “Albert II” that was used by the United States to measure vital signs.
In the 1950s the United States government were considering detonating a nuclear bomb on the Moon in order to intimidate the USSR during the “Space Race”. Some theories suggest that the Moon was formed after a giant collision between Earth and another planet called Theia. The tides on the Earth are created by the Moon’s gravitational pull. The Moon has no atmosphere and is completely unprotected against cosmic rays and, due to the Earth’s gravitational pull, the Moon suffers from seismic tremors about 7km under the surface.
Where can you find the majority of the Earth’s iron? (in the core)
How much of the Earth’s surface is covered in water? (70%)
What is the name of our galaxy? (The Milky Way)
When will the Andromeda galaxy collide with our own? (in 4 billion years)
Who was the first human in Space? (Yuri Gagarin)
When was Sputnik launched? (1957)
How long did Neil Armstrong spend outside of the spacecraft? (two and a half hours)
Which member of Apollo 11 did not step on the moon? (Michael Collins)
What was the name of the first space station? (Salyut 1)
How long did the crew members of Apollo 11 spend in quarantine? (21 days)
What were the first animals in space? (fruit flies)
What was the name of the first animal to orbit the Earth? (Laika)
Why did the USA send Albert II into space? (To measure vital signs)
What is the composition of the Moon’s atmosphere? (It doesn’t have one)
What happens 7km under the surface of the moon?
What did the US government want to do on the moon to intimidate the USSR? (detonate a nuclear bomb)
How was the Moon formed? (Theories say the Earth and a planet called “Theia” collided and shattered)
What protection does the Moon have from cosmic rays? (none)