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What would happen if you jumped off the International Space Station



Most skydivers jump off a plane flying 3.8 km above the ground. But imagine jumping off something even higher, like the International Space Station.

Unless you have a supersuit like Tony Stark, it’s not gonna end well. But let’s pretend Iron Man lends you one.

Ok, ready? 3 … 2 … 1 … Jump!

That’s right, you wouldn’t fall straight down. In fact, it’ll take you at least 2.5 years before you reach the surface. So what’s going on?

According to, height isn’t the main reason your fall takes so long. In fact, if you fell like a normal skydiver, it would only take about 2 hours.

But the thing is, you don’t fall straight down. You fall into orbit. The reason is speed. You see, the ISS might be called a station, but it’s hardly stationary. It’s actually moving 12 times faster than a jet fighter.

If you shot anything at that speed on Earth, by the time it was about to hit the ground, it would miss! In the same way, the ISS isn’t floating in space, it’s falling towards Earth and missing!

And when you jump off the ISS, you’re initially moving at that same speed. So you end up in orbit, too — at least for a while.

Now, even though it’s so high up, the ISS is pushing through a very thin atmosphere. And that friction slows it down. So the station fires engines to maintain speed and keep from crashing into the Earth.

But sadly your supersuit doesn’t come with engines strapped to your feet. This has two consequences:

First, it means you can’t maneuver and have to hope that any of those 13,000 chunks of space debris don’t impale you. Second, without rockets to maintain your speed, you’ll slow down and spiral toward Earth.

But it won’t be quick. The Chinese space station Tiangong 1, for example, about 2 years to fall out of orbit. On the ISS, you’re higher up, so you’ll take roughly 2.5 years. But once you strike the atmosphere, your long wait is over. And it’s go time.

As you re-enter, you have one goal: slow down. You’re traveling at hypersonic speeds. So, if you deployed a parachute now, it’ll shred to pieces.

And that’s not the only problem. Falling through the atmosphere at such break-neck speeds generates a lot of pressure on your suit — at least 8Gs of force — that’s 8 times the gravity you feel at sea level.

And if you’re falling feet first, that’ll push the blood away from your brain and toward your feet. So you’ll probably pass out unless you’re one of those fighter pilots who train to withstand up to 5Gs.

Now, if you don’t pass out, you may worry about the freezing temperatures up here. But, it turns out, your suit’s more likely to melt than freeze. You know how you can warm your hands by rubbing them together?

Now imagine your supersuit rubbing against air molecules in the atmosphere at least 6 times the speed of sound. You’ll heat up to about 1,650 ºC — hot enough to melt iron!

In fact, the heat is so intense, it strips electrons from their atoms forming a pink plasma around you that will ultimately destroy suit.

If that’s not enough of a problem, the drag will rip off your limbs. But thankfully, Tony Stark has your back, and somehow, your supersuit holds with you intact.

At 41 km up you’ve now reached the world record for highest skydive. In 2014, Alan Eustace wore a pressurized space suit as he rode a balloon up to this height. He broke the sound barrier on his way down before deploying his parachute and landed about 15 minutes after the drop.

But you’ll be falling much faster than Eustace — about 3 times the speed of sound. So, in reality, you’re not going to slow down enough to safely deploy your chute. That’s where Iron Man can help us one last time. By 1 km up you’ve reached the territory of ordinary skydivers who don’t need fancy suits to survive.

And at this point, your parachute can do its thing. And it’s finally time to land softly.

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Extraterrestrial life may be hiding in “terminator zones”




In a study published in the Astrophysical Journal, astrophysicists set out to find out if exoplanets could support life.

Astronomers have come to the conclusion that on the surface of some exoplanets there is a strip that may contain water, necessary for the existence of biological life. The terminator zone is the dividing line between the day and night sides of an exoplanet.

Many exoplanets are planets outside the solar system held by gravity. This means that one side of the planet is always facing the star they orbit, while the other side is in constant darkness.

The water on the dark side will most likely be in a frozen state, while on the light side it will be so hot that the water should just evaporate.

The terminator zone would be a “friendly place” – neither too hot nor too cold – in which liquid water could support extraterrestrial life.

Dr. Ana Lobo of the University of California, said: “The day side can be scalding hot, much uninhabitable, while the night side will be icy, potentially covered in ice. You need a planet that’s the right temperature for liquid water.”

“We’re trying to draw attention to planets with more limited amounts of water that, despite not having widespread oceans, might have lakes or other smaller bodies of liquid water, and that climate could actually be very promising.”

“By exploring these exotic climate states, we are improving our chances of finding and correctly identifying a habitable planet in the near future.”

The researchers created a model of their climate by analyzing different temperatures, wind patterns and radiative forcing, and found the “correct” zone on exoplanets that could contain life-supporting liquid water.

Researchers who are looking for life on exoplanets will now take into account the fact that it can hide in certain areas.

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Astronomers discover the strongest evidence for another Universe before the Big Bang




The notion of the Big Bang goes back nearly 100 years, when the first evidence for the expanding Universe appeared.

If the Universe is expanding and cooling today, that implies a past that was smaller, denser, and hotter. In our imaginations, we can extrapolate back to arbitrarily small sizes, high densities, and hot temperatures: all the way to a singularity, where all of the Universe’s matter and energy was condensed in a single point. 

For many decades, these two notions of the Big Bang — of the hot dense state that describes the early Universe and the initial singularity — were inseparable.

But beginning in the 1970s, scientists started identifying some puzzles surrounding the Big Bang, noting several properties of the Universe that weren’t explainable within the context of these two notions simultaneously. 

When cosmic inflation was first put forth and developed in the early 1980s, it separated the two definitions of the Big Bang, proposing that the early hot, dense state never achieved these singular conditions, but rather that a new, inflationary state preceded it. 

There really was a Universe before the hot Big Bang, and some very strong evidence from the 21st century truly proves that it’s so.

Although we’re certain that we can describe the very early Universe as being hot, dense, rapidly expanding, and full of matter-and-radiation — i.e., by the hot Big Bang — the question of whether that was truly the beginning of the Universe or not is one that can be answered with evidence. 

The differences between a Universe that began with a hot Big Bang and a Universe that had an inflationary phase that precedes and sets up the hot Big Bang are subtle, but tremendously important. After all, if we want to know what the very beginning of the Universe was, we need to look for evidence from the Universe itself.

Read the full article here.

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