10 Scary Space Facts That Will Change How You Think about Outer Space - Space Curios

10 Scary Space Facts That Will Change How You Think about Outer Space

“In space, no one can hear you scream”.

And that’s not even the worst part about it

Many of us often ponder over the enigma of space. It’s infinitely large, infinitely fascinating, but infinitely terrifying as well.

While 99.99% of space is vacuum, when you do come across something of substance, chances are it could easily kill you as if you’re an afterthought, or at the bare minimum, leave you with permanent physical and mental scars.

But what really makes space so dreadful is its unpredictability. Here are just 10 scary facts about space that may change your thoughts about space travel.

10. Gamma Ray Bursts

gamma ray burst

When a galaxy explodes (great way to start this list), it releases a massive burst of gamma rays powerful enough to completely annihilate any planetary bodies in its path. According to a 2018 research, a gamma ray burst will occur in the Milky Way once every 5 million years.

The only reason this fact is so low on our list is because these bursts are very likely to occur a huge distance from Earth, so we’ll be safe from direct contact or any possible side effects of their radiations.

{Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons}


9. Vampire Stars

Vampire Stars can suck the life out of other stars. Need I say more?

Scientifically known as O-type Stars, vampire stars are enormous blue giants attached to much smaller stars that get consumed by their sheer gravitational pull.

However, vampire stars don’t last long. Once it consumes a smaller star, an O-type star explodes into a supernova. This is because so much mass and energy is accumulated into it that its own gravity literally tears it apart.


8. A Giant Rogue Black Hole

rogue black hole

Black Holes are equal parts intriguing and terrifying. They can consume entire galaxies and can even bend space-time around them.

So what could possibly make them more dreadful? Well the fact that there’s a giant rogue black hole moving through space at roughly 3 million miles per hour of course. B31745+25 (fancy name) was discovered by The Hubble telescope in 2017 and is about 1 Billion times heavier than our sun.

It’s believed that this black hole broke away after its galaxy collided with another galaxy and now freely travels through space. The only solace we can take is in the fact that it’s 2 Billion light years away from us.

{Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons}


7. The Great Attractor

150-250 million light years from our galaxy lies a dreaded space anomaly called “The Great Attractor” with a gravitational pull so powerful that it can pull entire galaxies towards itself, and collapse them into each other.

What’s scarier is that we still don’t know what it is. There’s not even enough mass around it to account for that gravitational pull.

While The Great Attractor is at a large distance from us, its intense gravitational pull makes it very likely we’re on a crash course with it. And while this won’t happen for a few billion years, knowing the inevitable fate of our galaxy is still extremely haunting.

{Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons}


6. Meteors

The most realistic threat our planet faces is meteors. Over 100 million large meteorites exist in our solar system, and roughly 500 reach the Earth’s surface annually, though most of them are either too small to cause serious damage, burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere or crash into the ocean.

However, there’s been cases of meteors crashing into the Earth and causing devastation. In 2013, a meteorite crash in Russia created a powerful shockwave that broke glass windows in cars and buildings in neighboring towns and cities, injuring 400 people in the process.

Of course the most famous meteor crash is the one that killed the dinosaurs. Though very unlikely, if something like that were to happen again, there’s nothing we could do to avoid it.

5. A Solar Superstorm Almost Devastated Earth

solar superstorm

A solar superstorm is a powerful geomagnetic phenomenon that arises from stars like our sun, and can disrupt a planet’s gravitational and magnetic fields. Scientists call it a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME).

Aside from causing radiation poisoning in animals, it can also disrupt any electrical device exposed to it. In July 2012, a powerful CME was released by our sun. It crossed the Earth’s orbit and hit the STEREO-A spacecraft.

According to the University of Colorado, had that storm come a week earlier, it would’ve hit the Earth and caused a global blackout so devastating that we’d still be recovering from it to this day.

{Photo credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center}


4. Zero Gravity Can Affect Physical & Mental Health

space sickness

Staying in zero gravity for long periods of time can affect a person’s physical and mental health.

Some astronauts that spent weeks in space experienced muscular atrophy. That’s because most of their muscles don’t experience any stress from gravity, causing them to become inactive and die out from the lack of motor function.

To make matters worse, astronauts can develop mental health conditions like depression and anxiety, due to being away from physical human interaction for so long and thus require psychological therapy after their space missions.

{Photo credit: Wikipedia}


3. Decompression

decompression in space

Of course the most realistic way one could die in space is simply from decompression or exposure to the vacuum of space.

When an astronaut suffers decompression, the moisture and oxygen in their body gets ripped out, causing their body to literally swell up and explode in an instant.

In 1965, a technician at Houston’s Johnson Space Center accidentally detached a hose in his suit while working inside a vacuum chamber. This depressurized his suit and within seconds caused him to pass out. Thankfully his coworkers were able to save his life in time, though the man later stated he could feel his tongue boil as he passed out and was unable to taste anything for 4 days afterwards.

{Photo credit: TriStar Pictures}


2. Extended Space Travel Can Change Your DNA

Not only can long term space travel affect you physically and mentally, it could also disrupt your DNA. In 2016, Astronaut Scott Kelly returned to Earth after a yearlong stay onboard the ISS.

Upon returning, he noticed that he’d grown two inches taller than his identical twin, Astronaut Mike Kelly. After taking medical exams, scientists were shocked to find that not only did Scott now have different gut bacteria than Mike, but that his DNA was also different from his twin brother.

Scientists concluded that the stress from staying in space for too long had caused Scott’s cells to essentially rewrite his genetic code. And while he did shrink back to his original height, the changes in his DNA were permanent. So technically, Scott and Mike Kelly are no longer identical twins.

1. Corpses In Space

Yes, you did just read that.

Modern day space missions are relatively safe for astronauts. Of course I use the term “relatively” because that wasn’t always the case. In total, there have been over 200 space mission conducted by NASA alone and over 430 people have been to space.

Unfortunately, not all of these space missions have been successful and some earlier failed missions have resulted in the deaths of both humans and animals. What makes matters even more horrifying is the fact that some of these failed space crafts have never been recovered.

So both the space crafts, as well as the deceased personnel inside of them, are still floating in space somewhere, forever lost to the relentless vacuum of our universe.


So there you have it, the 10 scariest things about space travel and exploration. Luckily we're still decades and centuries away from having to deal with these threats first hand, but it's probably wise to keep imagining up new ways humanity could tackle these challenges.

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