Space is dominated by invisible electromagnetic forces that we don’t normally feel. It is also packed with strange types of matter that we never experience on Earth. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center has identified five supernatural phenomena that only occur in space, and that force scientists to broaden their understanding in order to understand them in depth.
The mysteries of the cosmos They have always captivated us, but at the same time science and technology, and especially astronomy, have advanced so much in recent centuries that they have managed to explain and demonstrate many of the enigmas that years ago seemed impossible to decipher. However, certain phenomena still continue to challenge our understanding and provoke new efforts for scientific knowledge to expand its limits.
One Article posted on the website of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center describes five issues that could be considered “supernatural” on our planet, as they would not have a rational explanation in our context, but that in space they happen with certain assiduity. What are these phenomena and how does science work to understand them?
Plasma and extreme temperatures
One of those mysteries is the plasma. On Earth, matter assumes one of three states: solid, liquid, or gas. In space, however, 99.9% of normal matter is in a completely different form, called plasma. It is a substance made up of loose ions and electrons: all stars, including the Sun, are made primarily of plasma. On Earth, it occasionally appears in the form of lightning bolts and neon signs.
Its behavior is amazing, since it interacts with invisible magnetic fields that manage to control the movements of the charged particles in the plasma and create waves that accelerate these particles at immense speeds.
The second phenomenon is extreme temperatures in space: if the Earth experiences a wide range of temperatures, what we consider extreme on our planet is the average in space. On planets without an insulating atmosphere, temperatures fluctuate dramatically between day and night. Mercury, for example, lives for days with temperatures reaching 449 degrees Celsius and frigid nights reaching minus 171 degrees Celsius.
Meanwhile, when NASA’s Parker Solar Probe makes its closest approach to Sol, you will experience thermal differences of more than 2,000 degrees.
Related topic: Mystery around the most extreme flashes of light in the universe.Related topic: Mystery around the most extreme flashes of light in the universe.
Fusion, huge explosions and shock waves
Another great cosmic mystery is the fusion: it is the process in which light elements are “squeezed” under immense pressure and temperature, becoming new, heavier elements. In its initial moments, the universe contained mostly hydrogen and helium, plus a small portion of a couple of other light elements.
Since that time, the fusion of stars and supernovae has provided the cosmos with more than 80 new elements, some of which make life possible. The Sun, for example, merges around 600 million metric tons of hydrogen per second.
The fourth phenomenon identified by NASA is the huge explosions explosionsthat occur in space at every moment, in the area near the Earth. When the solar wind, the stream of charged particles from the Sun, collides with the “magnetic shield” that protects the Earth, called the magnetosphere, explosive events are generated that cause, for example, the auroras that beautify the skies of our planet. These “explosive” magnetic interactions occur throughout space and are the subject of projects such as NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale mission.
Finally, astronomers also try to explain the phenomenon known as shock waves. In outer space, particles can transfer energy without touching. This strange energy transfer takes place in invisible structures known as “shocks.” The energy content is transferred through plasma waves, electric and magnetic fields.
Shock waves can only form when things are moving at supersonic speeds, that is, faster than the speed of sound. One possible scenario is around active supernovae ejecting clouds of plasma. However, in very rare cases these “shocks” can be created suddenly on Earth, for example when airplanes travel faster than the speed of sound.
Will science ever have a real and deep understanding of these strange phenomena? For the moment, they will continue to amaze us and indicate that there are forces and realities that exceed us.
Photo: Huge invisible explosions are constantly happening in space, even around Earth. These explosions are the result of twisted magnetic field lines breaking and realigning, shooting particles across the cosmos. Credits: NASA / CILab Goddard Space Flight Center.
Video: electric and magnetic fields can add and remove energy from particles, changing their speeds. Credit: NASA / Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio / YouTube.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.