What is Space?

    Published: November 01, 2018

    From the perspective of an Earthling, outer space is a zone that occurs about 100 kilometers (60 miles) above the planet, where there is no appreciable air to breathe or to scatter light. In that area, blue gives way to black because oxygen molecules are not in enough abundance to make the sky blue.


    What is Space?

    • 2. What Is Space? What Is Space? From the perspective of an Earthling, outer space is a zone that occurs about 100 kilometers (60 miles) above the planet, where there is no appreciable air to breathe or to scatter light. In that area, blue gives way to black because oxygen molecules are not in enough abundance to make the sky blue.
    • 3. Slide4 What Is Space? Further, space is a vacuum, meaning that sound cannot carry because molecules are not close enough together to transmit sound between them. That's not to say that space is empty, however. Gas, dust and other bits of matter float around "emptier" areas of the universe, while more crowded regions can host planets, stars and galaxies.
    • 4. Slide5 What Is Space? No one knows exactly how big space is. The difficulty arises because of what we can see in our detectors. We measure long distances in space in "light-years," representing the distance it takes for light to travel in a year (roughly 5.8 trillion miles, or 9.3 trillion kilometers).
    • 5. Slide6 What Is Space? From light that is visible in our telescopes, we have charted galaxies reaching almost as far back as the Big Bang, which is thought to have started our universe 13.7 billion years ago. This means we can "see" into space at a distance of almost 13.7 billion light-years. However, astronomers are not sure if our universe is the only universe that exists. This means that space could be a lot bigger than it appears to us.
    • 6. Slide7 Black Holes Smaller black holes can form from the gravitational collapse of a gigantic star, which forms a singularity from which nothing can escape not even light, hence the name of the object. No one is quite sure what lies within a black hole, or what would happen to a person or object who fell into it but research is ongoing.
    • 7. Slide8 Black Holes An example is gravitational waves, or ripples in space-time that come from interactions between black holes. This was first predicted by Albert Einstein at the turn of the last century, when he showed that time and space are linked; time speeds up or slows down when space is distorted.
    • 8. Slide9 STARS, PLANETS, ASTEROID AND COMETS Stars are balls of gas that produce their own radiation. They can range from red supergiants to cooling white dwarfs that are the leftovers of supernovas, or star explosions that occur when a big one runs out of gas to burn. These explosions spread elements throughout the universe and are the reason that elements such as iron exist. Star explosions can also give rise to incredibly dense objects called neutron stars. If these neutron stars send out pulses of radiation, they are called pulsar stars.
    • 9. Slide10 STARS, PLANETS, ASTEROID AND COMETS Planets are objects whose definition came under scrutiny in 2006, when astronomers were debating whether Pluto could be considered a planet or not. At the time, the International Astronomical Union (the governing body on Earth for these decisions) ruled that a planet is a celestial body that orbits the sun, is massive enough to have a nearly round shape, and has cleared its orbit of debris. Under this designation, Pluto and similar small objects are considered "dwarf planets," although not everyone agrees with the designation. After the New Horizons spacecraft flew by Pluto in 2015, principal investigator Alan Stern and others again opened up the debate, saying the diversity of terrain on Pluto makes it more like a planet.
    • 11. Slide12 STARS, PLANETS, ASTEROID AND COMETS Asteroids are rocks that are not quite big enough to be dwarf planets. We've even found asteroids with rings around them, such as 10199 Charilko. Their small size often leads to the conclusion that they were remnants from when the solar system was formed. Most asteroids are concentrated in a belt between the planets Mars and Jupiter, but there are also many asteroids that follow behind or ahead of planets, or can even cross in a planet's path. NASA and several other entities have asteroid-searching programs in place to scan for potentially dangerous objects in the sky and monitor their orbits closely.
    • 13. Slide14 WHAT IS SPACE ENGINEERING Space engineering deals with designing and building machines that fly. It is one of the newest branches of engineering, and began in the 19th century with the first experiments in powered flight. As technology progressed, two specialties emerged; aeronautical engineering, which involves designing aircraft such as powered lighter-than-air craft, gliders, fixed-wing airplanes and jets, autogyros, and helicopters; and astronautical engineering, which focuses on the design and development of spacecraft.
    • 14. Slide15 WHAT DOES A SPACE ENGINEER DO? Space engineers design aircraft, spacecraft, satellites and missiles, according to the BLS. In addition, these engineers test prototypes to make sure that they function according to plans. These professionals also design components and subassemblies for these craft; those parts include engines, airframes, wings, landing gear, control systems and instruments. Additionally, engineers may perform or write the specifications for destructive and nondestructive testing for strength, functionality, reliability, and long-term durability of aircraft and parts.
    • 16. Slide17 Where do space engineers work? Space engineers generally work in professional office settings. They may occasionally visit manufacturing and testing facilities where a problem or piece of equipment needs their personal attention, according to the BLS. space engineers work mostly in manufacturing industries and in the federal government. Additionally, a select few aerospace engineers are chosen to work on the International Space Station.
    • 17. Slide18 Where do space engineers work? Most space engineering jobs require at least a bachelor's degree in engineering. Many employers, particularly those that offer engineering consulting services, also require certification as a professional engineer. Promotion to management often requires a master's degree, and engineers need ongoing education and training to keep up with advances in technology, materials, computer hardware and software, and government regulations. Additionally, many aeronautical engineers belong to the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).
    • 18. Slide19 Where do space engineers work? Some space engineers work on projects related to national defense and thus must obtain security clearances, according to the BLS. According to Salary.com, as of July 2014, the salary range for a newly graduated aerospace engineer with a bachelor's degree is $52,572 to $73,535. The range for a midlevel engineer with a master's degree and five to 10 years of experience is $73,823 to $114,990, and the range for a senior engineer with a master's degree or doctorate and more than 15 years of experience is $93,660 to $147,582. Many experienced aerospace engineers with advanced degrees are promoted to management positions where they can earn even more.
    • 19. Slide20 SOURCES https://www.livescience.com/47702-aerospace-engineering.html