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Three Astonishing Facts About Space

Surprising and mind-boggling.

The Moon
The Moon's real shape | Credit:
Lemon Shaped Moon

Despite its appearance in the night sky, our natural satellite is nowhere near round. In fact, says BBC Sky at Night Magazine, the Moon is shaped like a lemon, with flattened poles and bulges on both the near and far side around its equator. The lit surface of the Moon entirely faces the Earth, giving it the appearance of being spherical. Scientists have worked out the reasons for the distorted shape of our Moon. A US team calculated the effect on the shape of the early Moon of tidal and rotational forces. They say its own spin and the tidal tug of the Earth created a "lemon-shaped" satellite.

Eau de Space fragrance bottle
Credit: Eau de Space
Eau de Space

What does space smell like? Well, according to the astronauts who've been there, a lot like "a mix of gunpowder, seared steak, raspberries, and rum" which does kind of sound like a hit summer fragrance. On a side note, the vacuum of space, in reality, doesn't have a smell to it. However, astronauts have described a distinctive scent that they've smelled after returning from spacewalks. A company going by the name Eau de Space has managed to get its hands on a scent that was developed by NASA chemists to give astronauts a chance to smell the cosmos before they left the Earth's atmosphere, as part of NASA's famously rigorous training programme. Apparently, Eau de Space acquired the smell due to "determination, grit, a lot of luck, and a couple of Freedom of Information Act requests." If you want to smell out of this world, you can actually buy Eau de Space.

Illustration of a neutron star
Illustration of a neutron star | Wikipedia
Neutron Stars

A neutron star’s density is mind-boggling. They are composed almost entirely of neutrons packed together in a tiny radius. Just a teaspoonful of this material would weigh over a trillion kilograms - more than the weight of the entire human population. Neutron stars are thought to form by the gravitational collapse of the remnant of a massive star after a supernova explosion.


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