5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Our Universe

On March 18, 1965, Soviet cosmonaut Aleksei Leonov became the first person to walk in space. Find out five other fascinating things you probably didn't know about our universe...

 
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The Moon Is Moving Farther Away From Earth The moon is moving 3.8 cm (about 1.5 inches) farther away from the Earth every year. The increasing distance is caused by tidal movement on Earth, which slows the Earth’s rotation and makes the moon expand its orbit. At this rate, about 50 billion years down the road, the Earth’s rotation would be every 47 days, but since the Sun will be a red giant by then, there’s nothing to worry about because it may have swallowed up both the Earth and moon.

Voyager I Is the Farthest Operational Man-Made Object Voyager I, the NASA space probe, has been traveling through outer space to collect data since 1977. It was launched at an unusual period when the four outer planets were aligned, an event that only occurs every 176 years. Voyager I in its journey has sent amazing close-up photos and data on Neptune, Uranus, Saturn, and Jupiter. In 2012, it became the first spacecraft to leave the solar system and enter the interstellar medium.

 
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Days on Earth Are Getting Longer While it might seem that the years go by more quickly to some, days on Earth are actually getting longer because the planet’s rotation is slowing. It isn’t time to panic yet because a day only lengthens about 1.8 milliseconds every century. The longer days are due to the moon pulling away at the speed of a snail. The moon's gravity causes a tidal "bulge" on Earth, and the bulge attempts to rotate at the same speed as the rest of Earth. As the tidal bulge moves forward, the moon's gravity attempts to pull it back, slowing the Earth's rotation ever so slightly.

Mars Has A Mountain Bigger Than Everest Mars holds the title of having the solar system’s largest mountain with the impressive Olympus Mons, which boasts a height of 16 miles. This is around three times taller than Mt. Everest. Olympus Mons is so wide, 340 miles, that it would cover an area bigger than all the Hawaiian islands. It was created by lava eruptions and has a low profile, being very flat with gentle slopes.

The Sun is Really Far Away We all know that the Sun is the star that all the planets in the Solar System revolve around. You might think that the Earth is relatively close given that it just takes just 365 days to make one orbit, but you’d be wrong. The Earth is a whopping 93 million miles from its star. A distance so far that it takes light itself over 8 minutes to reach Earth. It would take a driver traveling at 65 mph an astonishing 163 years to drive to the Sun.