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Air in Outer Space

Have you ever watched a cartoon or a movie where people wind up floating through space in funny situations? The truth is that being caught in space is not funny at all, and it can be extremely dangerous as well. Outer space is the seemingly endless void that surrounds the Earth and all of the other planets of our solar system. Our atmosphere has gas and water molecules floating around in it, which is what allows us to breathe. But space does not have air, gas, or water molecules floating around, which means that it would be impossible for an unprotected human to breathe in space.

  • Since space has no air or water molecules, sound cannot be heard in space.

  • The Earth has several layers of protection from the sun's dangerous rays of radiation. Those layers do not exist in space.

  • The gravitational pull of each planet is what prevents gases and water molecules from being found in space. Since the gravity is stronger on a planet than it is in space, the molecules are attracted to the planets and leave space empty.

It can be easy to take the Earth's gravity and atmosphere for granted. The Earth's atmosphere is constantly pushing down on humans and creating the pressure that keeps our bodies held together. In space, the lack of atmosphere means that the air in our lungs would immediately escape and the gases in our bodies would expand, making us look like big balloons. The pressure from the Earth's atmosphere also prevents our veins and eardrums from popping. In space, our veins would pop, and so would our eardrums.

  • Without the pressure of the Earth's atmosphere, our blood would stop flowing in space because of the large bubbles that would form in our veins.

  • The atmosphere also helps maintain the Earth's temperature. In space, we would either be too cold or too hot to survive.

  • Without blood flow in our bodies, our brains would stop working after 15 to 20 seconds of being unprotected in space.

We take breathing for granted, which is probably a good thing. Breathing is not something that we want to have to think about. But we should think about our atmosphere for several reasons. Not only do we need our atmosphere to breathe and exert pressure on our bodies, but we also need it to protect us from space itself. Small pieces of rock called meteors fly around space constantly. When they get close to Earth, these meteors burn up in our atmosphere because of the friction created by gas and water molecules rubbing against the meteors. In space, we would be sitting ducks for these meteors, and they travel at very fast speeds.

  • Even the smallest meteor, when in space, travels fast enough to break the skin on a human being.

  • Our atmosphere also protects us from the falling debris created by satellites and other ships we have sent into space.

  • The temperature range in space can go from 248 degrees Fahrenheit down to -148 degrees Fahrenheit. Humans could not survive unprotected in either of those temperatures.

  • Space Facts: Some information on space from Science Kids.

  • Our Solar System: A lot of great space resources from Discovery Kids.

  • Astronomy Information For Kids: This is a great resource to learn about the solar system and to learn about becoming a junior astronomer.

  • Solar System 101: A series of informational pages and fun games from NASA that are designed to teach about the solar system.

  • Interesting Facts About Space: This Space Facts website allows you to click on each planet and learn something new.

  • Space For Kids: National Geographic offers information and games about space and lets you sign up for their space explorer club.

  • Stars and Galaxies: ESA for Kids offers some great information on the galaxy we live in.

  • Astronomy for Kids: The Ducksters teach about our solar system and the rest of the galaxy.

  • What Is a Black Hole? The Earth Sky website gives some detailed information about this mystery of space.

  • NOAO Image Gallery: These are some extremely cool space pictures from the National Optical Astronomy Observatory.

  • The Earth's Moon: A comprehensive view of our moon from Windows to the Universe.

  • Map-A-Planet: The USGS offers a very cool website that lets you really explore all of the planets of our solar system.

  • What's Outer Space Like? The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency looks at what it's like out in space.

  • Explore and Learn: Information from the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

  • An Online Resource About Space: The National Reconnaissance Office offers an interactive resource to help learn about space.

  • What Is a Shooting Star? This music video teaches about meteors and meteorites.

  • All About Space: Mr. Nussbaum teaches us all about space!

  • Planets for Kids: A free astronomy network for kids interested in space.

  • Space Weather Center: Weather information from around the galaxy.