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Neil deGrasse Tyson's Top Ten Favorite Facts About the Universe

Neil deGrasse Tyson's Top Ten Favorite Facts About the Universe

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

1 0 There are 100,000 times as many stars in the universe as sounds and words ever uttered by all humans who have ever lived.

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9. Humans are genetically connected with life on Earth, chemically connected with life on other star systems and atomically connected with all matter in the universe.

8. Dark matter and dark energy make up 94 percent of the universe. We can measure their existence, yet we have no idea what they are.

7. Beneath a thick layer of surface ice, Jupiter's moon Europa likely harbors a liquid ocean kept warm by the gravitational stresses induced by Jupiter and by neighboring moons -- a potential haven for life.

6. An asteroid the size of Mount Everest slammed into Earth 65 million years ago. The ensuing global climatic catastrophe left 70 percent of all the world's species extinct, including the ferocious dinosaurs.

5. There are more molecules of water in a cup of water than cups of water in all the world's oceans. This means that some molecules in every cup of water you drink passed through the kidneys of Genghis Khan, Napoleon, Abe Lincoln or any other historical person of your choosing. Same goes for air: There are more molecules of air in a single breath of air than there are breaths of air in Earth's entire atmosphere. Therefore, some molecules of air you inhale passed through the lungs of Billy the Kid, Joan of Arc, Beethoven, Socrates or any other historical person of your choosing.

4. The laws of physics, as measured here on Earth, apply everywhere else in the universe -- across space and time.

3. Since light takes time to travel from one place to another, the farther out in space you look, the farther back in time you see. With our most powerful telescopes, we can observe the universe all the way back to its earliest moments -- all the way back to the Big Bang itself.

2. With Mars likely to have been wet and fertile before Earth in the early solar system; with known bacteria that can survive extremes of temperature, pressure and radiation; with asteroid impacts that can cast into space rocks that contain bacterial stowaways, allowing life to move between planets, it may be that life on Earth was seeded by life from Mars, making all of us descendants of Martians.

1.With chemical elements forged over 14 billion years in the fires of high-mass stars that exploded into space, and with these elements enriching subsequent generations of stars with carbon, oxygen, nitrogen and other basic ingredients of life itself, we are not just figuratively but literally made of stardust.


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