Outer space has always attracted and perplexed humans. Space mysteries fascinated, perturbed our imagination, and forced us to go deeper into the unknown. However, the more people studied space, the more mysteries they have come across.

At the moment, scientists came up with seven major space mysteries, the number of which can grow over the next decade or so.

Mystery #1: Is there life on planet Mars?

The so-called “Red Planet” has long been a stumbling block for scientists and one of the greatest space mysteries. Not quite a black hole or the Andromeda nebula, located literally next door, it is causing so many questions… The main question of whether there is life on Mars is not answered to this date.

It is obvious that there are no intelligent life forms on this planet, at least as far as we can tell right now. It is possible; however, that life once existed on this planet.

During the early period of it its existence, Mars, much like Earth, would have been blanketed by the atmosphere, which could mean the presence of life on this planet. But the Red Planet is almost half the size of the Earth, and this would be an important consideration as far as the size is concerned.

Mars’ core is much smaller in size than the Earth’s, which suggests that it had cooled down much faster. And when the core begins to cool down, the magnetic field becomes much weaker and the planet starts being attacked by asteroids from every possible direction.

These collisions with them transformed once thriving Mars into a lifeless desert. But is it lifeless? Soil samples collected by the rover Curiosity suggest the presence of colossal amounts of hydrogen encapsulated in the ice. The ice present on the surface makes it possible for life to exist, the question is, what forms life could be present there.

Mystery #2: Abnormal trajectory

In 1972, the Americans launched spacecraft “Pioneer 10”, designed to take a closer look at Jupiter. By the year 1983, the ship had reached the limits of the solar system.

Onboard, it had a plate 15×23 cm in size made of aluminum and coated with gold, with an engraved image showing a man, a woman, the “Pioneer” spacecraft itself, and relative location of the Earth in space.

Scientists believed that by examining the plate, aliens would be able to get the message about our planet and the type of life inhabiting it. Following the launch of the “Pioneer 10” spacecraft into space, its twin named “Pioneer 11” was also set on course.

It had also reached Jupiter, and then passed the solar system’s limits. And then, an unexpected thing has happened. Spacecrafts started to behave more than strangely, veered off-course, and reduced their speed. As a result, “Pioneers” deflected 400 000 km of their original trajectory!

In December of 1990, similar problems happened to the “Galileo” spacecraft, and in 1998 it occurred to the satellite sent to the Shoemaker-Levy comet. The trend is obvious.

But the engineers have calculated the trajectory and speed of the craft with maximum accuracy. What was the cause of deflection from the course? No one knows. More conservative scholars blamed the solar wind, gravitational field, dark matter, and other factors, opposing scientists saw it as the extraterrestrial intelligence activity.

But the true answer when wondering about what happened to satellites and spacecraft remains unknown.

Mystery #3: Invisible in space

Dark matter is a phenomenon that has been scrutinized by most prominent scientists for more than several decades. Impossible to be observed using telescopes because it does not reflect light, it accounts for about 70% of the matter in the universe according to some preliminary conclusions.

It was originally described by Swiss astronomer Fritz Zwicky in 1930. Back then, he suggested that the actual mass of all galaxies is much greater than the mass of what can be seen when using telescopes. Later, scientists were convinced in the validity of this hypothesis.

Dark matter still could not be observed but affected visible objects, so its existence was apparent. In the next ten years, experts hope to “grab it by the tail”, but this mystery is still not explained, which benefits the followers of non-traditional science who look at it as a sign of alien activity. Allegedly, this is because the aliens “are hiding” out there and stealthily rule in space.

Mystery #4: The tenth planet

In the areas close to the boundaries of the solar system, far away from Pluto, there is a so-called Oort cloud, comprised of millions of blocks of ice and comets. Influenced by the solar gravitational forces, they often change their orbits and “drop into” our planetary system.

Pluto, which is either a planet or a huge asteroid, sometimes “drops by” our neighborhood. Without going into details about this planet, there is a Kuiper Belt, which is home to billions of asteroids. At the same time, there is a completely empty space close to the Kuiper Belt.

Only a planet comparable in size to Earth or Mars would have been able to “clear” its way to get rid of obstacles on its way. This fact led some experts to believe in the possible existence of the tenth planet, although no one has been able to observe or detect this mysterious strange planet.

Mystery #5: Hot Jupiters

These are giant planets orbiting their stars at a close distance. “So what’s the big deal?” the readers of this article may ponder. And they will be wrong. What surprises scientists is the trajectory of the planets moving along their orbits, but in an opposite direction relative to the stars’ own rotation.

This is contrary to all existing laws of traditional astrophysics, yet the fact remains. This unusual behavior proves that conventional laws do not work in the same way everywhere. Or maybe our solar system is a big exception from the common rule?

Mystery #6: Pockets of life

The biggest space mystery in recent years is the question, how many planets resembling the Earth are out there in space? Astrophysicists have no doubt about the fact of their existence. In October 2013, it was confirmed that there are 992 extrasolar planets in 756 planetary systems in existence. Their variety is amazing.

Yes, most of them are similar to our neighbor planet Jupiter, they are giant gas planets. And as for the rest of them… Some of them make a full turn around their sun in only several days in duration in the Earth’s terms, with several suns shining on them, just like depicted in the “Avatar” motion picture.

There are systems that could be potentially inhabited, but they are not “earths”, but more likely “moons”… The important step would be to find habitable planets somewhere near Earth and send a space expedition there. This is not simple, but it may be worthwhile.

Maybe then we can finally realize and prove to ourselves that we are not alone in the universe.

Mystery #7: Entrance and exit

While scientists are still struggling to deal and explain the phenomenon of black holes, a concept of white holes has suddenly been introduced.

As it turns out, powerful emission of X-Ray radiation in the Indus constellation, located 1.6 million light-years from Earth was detected, which is impossible to classify as any known types of space phenomena. Astrophysicists are still struggling with finding explanations for this phenomenon, even 7 years after it was first discovered.

The only explanation that comes to mind is that this could be an eruption of a white hole. What kind of space phenomenon is this? A white hole is the antipode of a black hole; it does not swallow matter and energy, but rather pushes everything from inside of it.

One version of the explanation describes white holes as a flip-side of black holes. Together, they represent the entrances to the tunnel connecting distantly located parts of the universe.

After entering the tunnel, different time and different space continuums may be experienced. Considering this is true, the existence of extraterrestrial civilizations in addition to our own seems quite realistic. While we try to look for alien presence using telescopes, they may suddenly emerge from right under our noses!

These are just some of the space mysteries that torture scientific minds. Who knows, maybe one day, we will finally find the solutions.

Anna LeMind, B.A.

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