Whether it’s our elusive search for aliens or the perplexing nature of a black hole, there are still many questions about our universe that science can’t answer
PLANET Nine is a huge alien world roughly four times the size of Earth that continues to evade astronomers – but it’s not the only space mystery that has boffs baffled.
From the search for intelligent alien life to the dark matter that binds our cosmos, our universe is hiding plenty of juicy secrets.
Read on to discover the biggest space conundrums that science has yet to crack.
Four times the size of Earth and around ten times its mass, this mysterious ninth planet could be lingering on the icy outskirts of our universe.
There’s just one problem: scientists claim it is invisible to telescopes, making it a pain to track down.
But Nasa is optimistic because something out there is pushing a bunch of mini ice-worlds in its orbit.
Last year, the space agency said Planet Nine may be 20 times further from the Sun than Neptune, adding: “It is now harder to imagine our solar system without a Planet Nine than with one.”
Intelligent alien life
We still haven’t found intelligent alien life, despite what conspiracy theorists will tell you, and nor have we been contacted by ETs.
So it’s no surprise scientists are starting to lose faith that we ever will bump into little green beings.
A recent study cited the Fermi Paradox – a theory that charts the gulf between our expectations of finding alien life and the fact that it remains undiscovered – to suggest that we have a 47 percent chance of finding intelligent life.
But seeing as Nasa has thus far discovered over 4,000 exoplanets – those outside our solar system – around 35 percent of which are “likely” to have water, there has to be aliens camped on at least one of them, right?
How will the universe end?
Scientists aren’t even 100 percent sure how the universe came to be, let alone how it will die.
But that hasn’t stopped researchers from taking a stab at apocalypse theories, spanning devastating asteroid impacts to deadly solar storms.
Another recent suggestion claims a huge energy bubble will swallow us whole, leaving behind nothing but a dark void.
All it would theoretically take is for a fundamental particle – the Higgs Boson – to become destabilised, which could occur 0x139 years from now, or 10million trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion years.
What is Dark energy?
Along with dark matter, we don’t what dark energy looks like even though together they make up 95 percent of everything around us.
The remaining five percent is normal matter.
This invisible force has yet to be observed directly because it’s completely invisible to light and other forms of electromagnetic radiation, meaning even our most advanced scientific instruments can’t detect it.
Yet scientists are convinced it exists because of the gravitational effects it seems to have on galaxies, according to National Geographic.
Will the ‘Great Attractor’ obliterate human life?
There’s something up there in the sky that’s a lot stranger than Planet Nine and a lot more fatal.
Scientists claim that our galaxy and other nearby galaxy clusters are being dragged toward a specific region of space known as the “Great Attractor”.
We know this area is around 150 million light years away but we’re not entirely sure what it is.
The Great Attractor exists in a scary place known as the “zone of avoidance” – which in non-scientific terms means steer clear – that’s choked with gas and dust to the point that we can’t see very far in its visible spectrum, according to the Universe Today.
Whatever magnetic presence lurks out there is either terrifyingly massive or something altogether fantastic.
How did Saturn get its rings?
Aside from not knowing how many there are, we also haven’t figured out how they came to be.
What we do know is that the rings are 400,000 kilometres wide (the distance from the Earth to the moon) and as little as 100 meters thick and are possibly ice covered rocks.
What happens inside a black hole?
No one’s really sure what happens within those terrifying sink holes in space, but plenty of scientists have taken a swing at answering the question.
They claim a black hole is a region of space where absolutely nothing can escape.
That’s because they have extremely strong gravitational effects, which means once something goes into a black hole, it can’t come back out (this point of no return is dubbed an event horizon).
They get their name because even light can’t escape once it’s been sucked in – which is why a black hole is completely dark.