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Weird History: 5 Odd Space-Related Facts

Humans have been fascinated by the stars for centuries. In writing up these history lessons every week, I often come across interesting facts about the history of space study and exploration. Sometimes these facts don't necessarily have enough to them for an entire lesson, but they are interesting nonetheless. So, here is a list if the most interest space-related history facts I've come across over the past year. Presented chronologically. Sort of.

1. Galileo's finger is in a museum

Galileo Galilei is known today as "the father of modern astronomy" for his planetary discoveries and his life is filled with fascinating stories. The oddest of those stories however, is probably the fact that one of his fingers was kept and preserved. That's right. According to NASA, Galileo's middle finger can be found at the Museo di Storia del Scienza in Florence, Italy. The finger was acquired by a librarian after the astronomer's death in 1737 and has spent the last three centuries in museums.

2. "Flying Chariots" to the moon

The first documented proposal of space exploration was put forth by Oxford graduate John Wilkin in 1649. Inspired by Galileo as well as science fiction stories of the time, Wilkin believed that humans should strive to visit the moon regularly, writing "I do seriously, and upon good grounds, affirm it possible to make a flying chariot."

3. Cleopatra lived closer to the moon landing than the pyramids

So this fact actually inspired the entire list. Because it doesn't seem possible. And yet...the Pyramids at Giza were built between 2550 B.C.E. and 2490 B.C.E. Cleopatra was born in 70 BCE or 69 BCE. She died in 39 B.C.E. That's, at the very least, a 2,420 year difference. Humans landed on the moon in 1969. That means it happened about 2,038 years after Cleopatra's death. So, Cleopatra lived 382 years closer to the moon landing than she did to the construction of the pyramids in Giza. Math is wild.

4. Moon footprints don't last forever

Remember that one small step for man? As far as we know, it's still printed on the moon. And there it will stay. Without wind or rain, it could last for millions of years. That said, it won't last forever. Eventually, erosion will wear it away. Even if it takes a VERY long time.

5. Space sounds

Technically, space is silent, but that doesn't mean we haven't tried to listen to it. "Some spacecraft have instruments capable of capturing radio emissions," explains NASA. "When scientists convert these to sound waves, the results are eerie to hear." This has resulted in some rather eerie audio.

You can listen to that here.

So, what shocks you about space or the people who study it?

[Image Credit: Lucas Pezeta via Pexels]

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