What if Space was breathable? It is the question that hit most of the curious minds for at least once.
Most of our Earth is breathable.
And what breathable means is the presence of Oxygen,
Our Earth is the only to host life. And the very reason for this is Oxygen.
But life is rare and known to exist only on Earth! So does it mean that Oxygen is rare? Ans: No!
As per recent research, it was found that Oxygen is one of the most abundant elements in the known universe.
But it exists in complex form, compounding with other elements. And not as standalone oxygen gas.
According to a famous article published on science mag, the Orion Nebula and the Rho Ophiuchi cloud are the only two places in known interstellar Space where molecular Oxygen is present.
Now let us try to answer the main question here. What if Space was breathable? How would the universe have been different from today’s if there was Oxygen?
The motion would stop.
Do you know why the celestial bodies like planets, stars, and comets, and all those things keep moving for millions of years? Vacuum!
Vaccum is the Space with a complete absence of any particles, like dust, wind, air, or atmosphere.
If the Space was breathable, there would have been Oxygen everywhere. And there would have been friction in the entire universe.
This could have caused the planets to stop revolving around the Sun. There would have been a permanent day on one surface and night on the other. The night side would have frozen. And the day a furnace!
Galaxies would no longer rotate to its center. And the universe would no longer expand.
Earth collides into the Sun.
As the motion of Earth stops due to ever-increasing drag caused by Oxygen and there would be no opposite force with Earth to overpower Sun’s gravity. So it will have no choice but to fall into the Sun. Scary enough!
Black holes supremacy
If the Space was breathable, Oxygen would have been the most dominating element in the universe.
The situation would have been just enough for the formation of supermassive black holes, spraying uniformly everywhere in Space.
So everything ultimately would have been eaten up by them.
The Space outside Earth is enormously cold at average -270°c. And even if you were in Space with no spacesuit, you wouldn’t die of cold.
Thanks to the vacuum we earlier discussed. It would have taken years for your temperature to fall equal.
You see, there’s no medium for heat to transfer from the stars to Space.
But if there were Oxygen, it would have filled this gap. i.e., to transfer heat. You could end up dying due to boiling temperature.
The atmospheric pressure goes high
We know that there’s the atmosphere on Earth, which is also responsible for influence on the planet. But that’s the exact healthy pressure we need to survive.
But you know what would happen to pressure if the Space was breathable.
Earth would have attracted surrounding Oxygen. Next, it could have triggered the atmosphere above us to get denser. And the pressure on Earth to go dead high.
So it would cause our ears to pop first. Then our nose and eyes. And thus, if Space was breathable, life soon would vanish from Earth.
As mentioned earlier, if Space was breathable, Earth would have attracted nearby Oxygen. It could have to lead the atmosphere to get dangerously denser.
It would have acted as a barrier. And could have blocked all Sunlight reaching Earth.
There would have been all cold and night on Earth. And life demolishes again!
As we know, Space has no medium for the transfer of energy. The only way of energy travel in Space is the electromagnetic spectrum—I.e., in radiation form.
Suppose Space had Oxygen, which is a medium to transfer energy. And since sound is a type of energy. There would have been unstoppable noise to our ears at all times.
The sound a bullet fire generates is 20 dB approximately. And the average loudness of Space is nearly 16 dB. So if the Space was breathable, it would have been an irritating experience. And we could have gone deaf already.
This sound is usually produced by stars while accumulating new material and other explosions.
But don’t worry! Space is not going to Set on Fire.
Contrary to popular beliefs. Space shouldn’t be catching fire if there was Oxygen.
Take, for example. There’s Oxygen on Earth everywhere. But when we lit the match stick, does Earth set on fire? Nope!
For a fire to catch, we need two things: Oxygen + fuel. And how the Stars burns? That’s the other story.
So unless there will be fuel everywhere in Space, it won’t be setting on fire.
The universe we are part of is tremendous in size and is in motion since the last 14 billion years. It is only getting thinner and colder ever since the big bang.
And while there’s an abundance of unique elements, the Oxygen has been something of an exception.
So the situation of breathable Space is something that will never come to existence. That means the oxygen apocalypse is not to occur.
I hope you got the answer to “What if space was breathable?” throughout this reading.
And if you have any confusion or got a query to ask – please comment below.