The near-vacuum extending between the planets and stars, containing small amounts of gas and dust. Also called outer space to refer to the physical universe beyond the Earth's atmosphere.

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6k views

How can a black hole produce sound?

I was reading this article from NASA -- it's NASA -- and literally found myself perplexed. The article describes the discovery that black holes emit a "note" that has physical ramifications on the ...
22
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1answer
1k views

Why does it take so long to get to the ISS?

I don't understand why when first launched Space X's Dragon capsule had to orbit the Earth many times in order to match up with the ISS? Was this purely to match it's speed, or to get closer (as in ...
21
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1answer
535 views

How do we know that these radio bursts are from billions of light-years away?

NASA just announced that they detected the first radio bursts from outside of our galaxy. Astronomers, including a team member from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., have ...
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3answers
9k views

How long does it take to travel 36 light years with tolerable acceleration and deceleration?

The recent discovery of HD85512b only 36 light years from Earth has promising attributes to harbor life. Assuming we want to travel there, we cannot instantaneously jump to light speed, (StarTrek ...
18
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7answers
1k views

What grounds the difference between space and time?

We experience space and time very differently. From the point of view of physics, what fundamentally grounds this difference? Dimensionality (the fact that there are three spatial dimensions but only ...
17
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2answers
3k views

How does space affect the human body (no space suit, no space craft)

How does "outer space" affect the human body? Some movies show it as the body exploding, imploding or even freezing solid. I know space is essentially a vacuum with 0 pressure and the dispersion of ...
16
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2answers
4k views

What is the possibility of a railgun assisted orbital launch?

Basic facts: The world's deepest mine is 2.4 miles deep. Railguns can acheive a muzzle velocity of a projectile on the order of 7.5 km/s. The Earth's escape velocity is 11.2 km/s. It seems to me ...
12
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13answers
2k views

What are the mechanics by which Time Dilation and Length Contraction occur?

What are the mechanics of time dilation and length contraction? Going beyond the mathematical equations involving light and the "speed limit of the universe", what is observed is merely a phenomenon ...
12
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4answers
272 views

Why are spacecraft made to “spin” after launch?

At some point after launch, usually just before or after separation from the last booster stage, spacecraft are often made to "spin" (about the axis of their trajectory)? See e.g this You Tube video. ...
12
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2answers
299 views

Why were space physicists wrong about the location of the heliopause?

The heliopause is now estimated to be something around 100 AU (1 AU = Astronomical unit = about the earth sun distance). See the wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heliosphere From ...
12
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2answers
127 views

What would happen to wet laundry in the vacuum of space?

Imagine for a second that I was in a college dorm room frustrated that all the dryers were broken or in use. I'm impatient and not a jerk so I don't wait or take out someone else's laundry, I shoot it ...
11
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3answers
1k views

A water drop in vacuum

Let's imagine the following situation: At an initial moment $t=0$, a large water drop with diameter for example $D=10\ \text{cm}$ is placed in deep space (Say an astronaut is experimenting). Let's ...
11
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1answer
1k views

Is there a “map” of the interplanetary transport network?

To my understanding, the idea behind the interplanetary transport network is that areas near heavy objects and their Lagrange points are accesible with comparatively little energy, for example one ...
11
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1answer
173 views

How long will our artifacts last in moon & space?

Given all the different space probes and equipment that have been either launched into space or lying on the moon. How long will they last before they get decayed into dust or some unrecognizable ...
10
votes
1answer
8k views

Why can there be fire in space while there is no oxygen?

The sun is made of fire but fire needs oxygen right? So.. Why can there be flames in space, while there's no oxygen? Same idea as with the rocket engines of the spaceship, which also produce fire ...
10
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1answer
436 views

How vacuous is intergalactic space?

You often hear intergalactic space is an example for a very good vacuum. But how vacuos is space between galaxy clusters and inside a huge void structure? Are there papers quoting a ...
10
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1answer
322 views

Laptops in space

I was reading an article regarding the Shuttle's GPCs and how they stack up against commercially-made hardware on http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/flyout/flyfeature_shuttlecomputers.html and ...
9
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5answers
4k views

If I take a bottle of air into space, and open it, where does it go?

It seems to me that space doesn't have any/much air, and if my bottle is full of air, when I open it, where does the air go?
9
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6answers
2k views

Does anything exist in the intergalactic space?

I am a part time physics enthusiast and I seldom wonder about the intergalactic space. First, it is my perception that all(almost all) the objects in the universe are organized in the forms of ...
9
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3answers
1k views

What is meant by Vacuum?

What is the exact meaning of the word vacuum? Is it just a state of very low pressure or is it nothingness (as in there is nothing)? Also, when we say space is vacuum - it must be referring to ...
9
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3answers
831 views

Can black holes actually merge?

If time stops at the event horizon, can we ever detect two black holes merging? In other words, if you are a short distance away, would you encounter a spherically symmetric gravitational field, or a ...
9
votes
4answers
416 views

Explosion in space

I'm curious about what happens if an explosive substance detonates in space. On Earth, I guess a good chunk of the energy released is carried away by shock waves in the atmosphere. But in space, the ...
9
votes
2answers
231 views

What are the limitations of performing music in space?

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield's song Space Oddity is making news around the world today. It makes me wonder: What are the limitations of performing music in space? Clearly, there is no point to ...
8
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4answers
254 views

Direct exposure to the vacuum of space

I was watching a few sci-fi movies and was wondering the real science explaining what would happen if you were to be subject to the conditions of outerspace. I read the wikipedia article on space ...
7
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2answers
699 views

What's the difference between space and time?

I'm having a hard time understanding how changing space means changing time. In books I've read people are saying "space and time" or "space-time" but never explain what the difference is between the ...
7
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2answers
895 views

What does the sky look like to human eyes from orbit?

There are numerous pictures, obviously, of the blackness of space from the shuttle, the space station, and even the moon. But they all suffer from being from the perspective of a camera, which is not ...
7
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1answer
1k views

What happened to Apollo's Saturn-third-stage rockets?

I read recently the original Apollo 11 press release and it mentions that the Saturn V's third stage (used for Trans-Lunar Injection) was deployed into a solar orbit of some kind: (Source: Press ...
7
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1answer
225 views

How was this dot identified as a mystery planet originally (Pluto in this case)?

I was watching a documentary on a mission to study Pluto. At 21:11, an image is presented with an arrow mark pointing a small dot which is now identified as Pluto. As there are hundreds of dots on ...
6
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5answers
4k views

Why can't a spaceship accelerate for ever? Since there is no friction in space

I have seen many answers like: because we don't have infinite energy, because of gravity, because it is impossible, because of physics. But they don't really answer my question.. I mean if there is ...
6
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3answers
690 views

Would a fast inter-stellar spaceship benefit from an aerodynamic shape?

Some (generous) assumptions: We have a spaceship that can reach a reasonable fraction of light speed. The ship is able to withstand the high energies of matter impacting at that speed. Given the ...
6
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3answers
463 views

Why Can We Observe Space Curvature / Warping At All?

I don't understand why we are able to see and measure curvature / warping of space at all. Space as I understand it determines distances between objects, so if space were "compressed" or warped, ...
6
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5answers
864 views

What would ACTUALLY happen to a person jettisoned into space?

[insert obligatory statement of my lack of knowledge in physics] Alright, so we have all seen the movies where someone gets blasted out of the airlock on their starship, or their suit decompresses ...
6
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3answers
325 views

What are the fundamental problems of being in a 2 dimensional world?

I was reading through Stephen Hawking's explanation of two - dimensional space. In that he mentioned that it will be very difficult to design a living being that could exist only in 2 dimension. What ...
6
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2answers
231 views

Physics and math behind flight through solar system: Where to start?

I wrote a first program that simulates a solar system. I was able to calculate the locations for every planet on its elliptical route for any given time. In a second program i managed to simulate ...
6
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1answer
109 views

Why doesn't gravity ruin satellites?

Recently I watched a documentary about Io, a moon around Jupiter. Io has volcanic activity even though it is small and can't retain heat well because gravity from Jupiter and a nearby moon cause it to ...
6
votes
4answers
939 views

What causes the permittivity and permeability of vacuum?

When light travels through a material, it gets "slowed down" (at least its net speed decreases). The atoms in the material "disturb" the light in some way which causes it to make stops on its path. ...
6
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1answer
312 views

Has Voyager 1 entered a solar radiation belt?

The Voyager 1 probe was sent out in 1977 to go where no man made object has gone before, after more than 35 years it’s still going strong. It’s now 124 AU away from Earth and many are wondering when ...
6
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0answers
191 views

What exactly is the composition of radiation in interplanetary space?

The articles I found on radiation in the solar system mostly dealt with solar wind, I wonder about other types. Is there a breakdown that tells me, withhin an order of magnitude, at least what ...
5
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3answers
583 views

Will a machine or a technique ever be possible that allows artificial gravity in interplanetary space?

Will a machine or a technique ever be possible that allows artificial gravity in interplanetary space? And I ask out of pure curiosity. I know there is the "Vomit Comet" that allows for a non-gravity ...
5
votes
2answers
623 views

What is the largest sphere of liquid water that could exist in space held together under it's own gravity? [duplicate]

What is the largest theoretical sphere of liquid water that could exist in space held together under it's own gravity? I've always wondered if a planet the size of earth could exist as a single volume ...
5
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3answers
3k views

How do they produce air on the ISS?

How do they provide air on the ISS? I know it is produced by electrolysis but is that all they breathe, hydrogen and oxygen? The air here on Earth contains other things like nitrogen. Do the people ...
5
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2answers
1k views

Escape Velocity of Asteriod 243 Ida

I was reading about this asteroid (apparently, it has a moon, isn't that awesome?) and I started thinking about if I was on this asteroid, and I jumped, would I fall off? It's been a while since I ...
5
votes
5answers
1k views

Why can't airplanes just keep going up? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why do space crafts take off with rockets instead of just ascending like an aircraft until they reach space? Ignoring that the engines only work in air, so say its a ...
5
votes
2answers
612 views

What is the fastest a spacecraft can get using gravity-assist?

Assuming normal spacecraft and space objects (no neutron stars, black holes, etc). To what speed can a spacecraft accelerate using gravity-assist? For example, if a spacecraft is moving at ...
5
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2answers
533 views

“Space” in General Relativity and “vacuum” in Standard Model, is it the same thing?

And expansion of space is equal to expansion of vacuum?
5
votes
3answers
572 views

An electromagnetic space elevator?

If you surround the equator with a continuous Niobium Tin superconductor ring, and ran somewhere near but less than the maximum current density through, the magnetic field of the Earth would support ...
5
votes
8answers
5k views

Definition of “direction”

Is there an actual definition of "direction" (that is, spatial direction) in physics, or is it just one of those terms that's left undefined? In physics textbooks it's always just taken for granted ...
5
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2answers
66 views

Does space have a “radiation pressure” caused by subatomic particles?

If space is not actually a void, then there's something shooting around in it, I'm guessing a lot like molecules in a gas. Could we apply a $(PV/T = k)$ -like gas law to it. Obviously we're not ...
4
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7answers
2k views

What properties do you need for building a tower?

When I was a boy I used to daydream about building a tower so tall that the top of it would stick out of the top of Earth's atmosphere project into near space. There would perhaps be a zero gravity ...
4
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2answers
206 views

In a spaceship, if a vessel suddently stops will an object inside the vessel keep going?

My question is a 2 part question. First if a vessel in space is going very fast and suddently stops (maybe it is not possible but that is not the point) will things/humans inside the vessel keep ...