What is space?

Learn about what space is and the difference between space, the solar system and the milky way!

On the 21st February 2022 we sent YOUR voices to space as part of Mission Transmission.

You can listen to Mission Transmission – our radio broadcast to deep space featuring YOUR voices here.

What is Space?

Space is everything outside of Earth. Space technically begins at something called the Kármán Line, which is about 100km above the Earth.

We don’t know if there is an end to space, most scientists think it goes on forever! What we know for sure is we have never found the edge of space.

In space there is no air – that means nobody can hear you because the sound waves cannot travel without air! It also means you can’t breathe like you can on Earth. Due to there being no air astronauts have to wear special suits that help them breathe. Plus space is super black because there is no air to scatter sunlight like on Earth.

There are lots of things in space however they are normally very far apart! Earth and our solar system are in space.

Here is a list of some of the things you can find in space

  1. Planets
  2. Stars
  3. Solar Systems
  4. Asteroids
  5. Comets
  6. Meteors

What is The Solar System?

The Solar System is all the planets and other things in space that orbit (go around) the sun.

This includes the Earth, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, Pluto, asteroids and comets.

Earth is a big place but within the solar system it is quite small. It would take 1.3 million planets the size of Earth to fill up the sun. Earth is a lot smaller than planets like Jupiter and Saturn.

The solar system was formed 4.6 billion years ago from a cloud of gas and dust called the solar nebula.

A shock wave from a nearby supernova (big star) explosion probably started it.

The Sun formed in the center, and the planets formed around it.

The sun is actually a star but because we are so close to it it looks very different to other stars.

The stars we see in the night sky are very far away which is why they look so small.

What is the Milky Way?

The Milky Way is a galaxy. A galaxy is a group of stars held together by gravity.

So Earth is part of the solar system, the solar system is part of the Milky Way (along with lots of other stars and objects) and the Milky Way is part of space. It can feel very confusing!

You can try and see the Milky Way in the night sky however most of the time it is hard to see because the light in our cities means we don’t see the night sky clearly.

If you are in the countryside on a clear night try and see if you can see the milky way. Here are some photos of what it looks like.

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