• Question: do you know things about physics and outer space?

    Asked by blue to Adam, Eloise, Iona, Jarrod, Yip on 20 Jun 2016.
    • Photo: Jarrod Hart

      Jarrod Hart answered on 20 Jun 2016:

      Yes, we can tell a lot about space just by looking at it with telescopes – scientists figured out that space is mostly empty and that the sun is a ball of hydrogen gas burning like a big nuclear bomb!

      Newton also figured out why the moon does not float away and why we orbit the sun, just by thinking about how apples fall – he realised something crazy: the moon is falling! It is falling towards the Earth, but just keeps missing! We are lucky is has lots of speed which keeps it falling over the horizon. If it was ever stopped (for some reason), it would immediately fall on our heads. Luckily, this is very unlikely, nobody is strong enough to stop the moon.

      We also figured out (without even leaving the earth) that the universe was probably once all squished together in a small ball, about 14 billion years ago. We can see this because we can see all the ‘stuff’ out there is moving away, and if you look how fast, you can tell it was probably all ‘here’ 14 billion years ago!

      It is amazing what we can find out about space without even going there…

    • Photo: Iona Strawson

      Iona Strawson answered on 20 Jun 2016:

      I know a bit, I did physics at A-level although I don’t remember a huge amount.

      Physics books I really enjoyed:

      An Elegant Universe by Brian Greene
      QED by Richard Feynman

    • Photo: Eloise Taysom

      Eloise Taysom answered on 20 Jun 2016:

      I know quite a bit because one of my friends is a super physics geek and we always ask him questions like ‘is it possible to time travel?’ or ‘where in space could we live?’. I’m one of those people who googles everything too. A lot of engineering is based on physics so you learn a lot at uni if you study engineering but it tends to be ‘earth’ physics rather than ‘space’ physics.