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Space Trivia

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In the famous words of Apollo 13 commander Jim Lovell, "_____, we have a problem." Lovell's actual words were "Houston, *we've had* a problem."

The atmosphere of Mars is relatively moist. However, because the atmosphere is thin, the total amount of water in the atmosphere is minimal. If all the water in the atmosphere of Mars was collected, it would likely only fill a small pond.

In the history of the solar system, 30 billion comets have been lost or destroyed. That amounts to only 30 percent of the estimated number that remain.

The average meteor, though brilliantly visible in the nighttime sky, is no larger than a grain of sand. Even the largest and brightest meteors, known as fireballs, rarely exceed the size of a pea.

In the Middle Ages, millions of people believed that the stars were beams of light shining through the floor of Heaven.

The average surface temperature of the outer planets Uranus, Neptune, Pluto is about -364 F, 11 times colder than inside a home freezer.

It has been estimated that at least a million meteors have hit the Earth's land surface, which is only 25 percent of the planet. Every last trace of more than 99 percent of the craters thus formed has vanished, erased by wind, water, and living things.

The brightest asteroid is called Vesta. It has a diameter of 335 miles and is the only asteroid visible to the unaided eye.

It is estimated by scientists that the universe contains 0.0000000000000000000000000000001 grams of matter per cubic centimeter of space. It is also estimated that the universe is 35 billion light years in size, or 210,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 miles.

The brightest star in the night sky is Sirius, the Dog Star. The second brightest star is Canopus, which is only visible in the Southern Hemisphere.

It is estimated that within the entire universe, there are more than a trillion galaxies.

The brightness of a star is called its magnitude. The smaller the magnitude is, the brighter the star is.

It takes 100,000 years for a red giant to change into a white dwarf. By astronomical standards, this is practically instantaneous, a mere one-thousandth of the star's life.

It was American physicist John Wheeler who discovered the black holes of outer space, and he named the phenomenon in 1967.

The coldest place in the solar system is the surface of Neptune's largest moon Triton, which has a temperature of -391 F, only 69 F above absolute zero.

Jupiter is more than two and a half times larger than all the other planets combined.

Jupiter is much smaller than the Sun. If the Sun was the size of a basketball, 1 foot across, Jupiter would be the size of a table tennis ball 1 inch across.

Cosmonaut Sergei Avdeyev spent 748 days on board the Russian space station Mir.

Deimos, one of Mars' moons, rises and sets twice a day.

Deimos, one of the moons of Mars, rises and sets twice a day.

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