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17 Facts About Space They Should've Taught You In School

If you cry in space, the tears just stick to your face.

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1. The International Space Station is about the size of a football field.

NASA / Via

It also weighs about 925,000 pounds, which seems right when you consider it has as much livable space as a standard six-bedroom home — with the added perks of a gym and 360-degree bay window.

(Where can we play on a NASA football field? Asking for a friend.)

3. The Hubble has traveled more than 3 billion miles in its orbit around Earth.

NASA / Via

That is, as of its 24th anniversary this past April. To give you a sense of its size, it's about as long as a large school bus and weighs as much as two full-grown elephants. It also generates a mere 844 gigabytes of data a month.


5. Snoopy, the Peanuts character, is NASA astronauts' safety mascot.

NASA chose the pup to act as a "watchdog" for flight safety back in the 1960s. Less than 1% of the workforce receives the recognition annually, making it one of the most prized (and cutest) awards in the field.

7. Speaking of Saturn, its rings aren't solid: They're made of ice and rock particles.


Some are as tiny as grains of sand, while others are bigger than houses. Scientists liken it to a traffic jam: Some particles tailgate others in big clusters, then there are large clear spaces, and then there's more traffic.

8. Bennu, the potentially hazardous asteroid that NASA plans to land on and take a sample from, was named by a 9-year-old student.

Third-grader Michael Puzio thought the spacecraft OSIRIS-REx (left) looks like the Egyptian god Bennu (right), which is usually depicted as a grey heron and whose name means "the ascending one" or "to shine."

NASA says Bennu might be headed toward Earth in 2182. OSIRIS-REx is scheduled to depart in two years, hang out with Bennu in 2018, and return a sample of the asteroid to Earth in 2023 to allow scientists to examine its contents and use that info to better track celestial objects.


10. Oh, and a day on Venus is longer than its year.

Adnan Abidi / Reuters

If that sounds confusing, here's a more detailed breakdown: A year on Venus (how long it takes to go around the sun) is about 225 Earth days. Its incredibly slow rotation, though, is 243 Earth days.


14. There's no permanent dark side of the moon.


So what Pink Floyd was referring to is ever-changing. Because of the Earth and moon's similar rotations, the moon appears to be perfectly still to us. The first people to see the far side, or the "back," were the folks aboard Apollo 8, who did a flyover — meaning their spacecraft didn't land — back in 1968.

15. Jupiter has more than 50 moons, and its biggest moon, Ganymede, is bigger than Mercury or Pluto.

Ganymede (left) is the largest moon in the solar system. It is one of the Galilean satellites, four huge moons of Jupiter that were first seen in 1610 by Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei. Jupiter's honkers (right) are, from top to bottom, Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto.

16. Dung beetles use the Milky Way to navigate.


A study published in Current Biology shows that even on clear moonless nights, African dung beetles still manage to orient themselves along straight paths. However, they lose their orientation on overcast nights, indicating they use the sun, moon, and celestial patterns to move in straight paths.