11 – Is Life Unique to Earth?,
- This is kind of an obvious one, but it’d be stupid not to include it.
- It’s arguably the biggest mystery in science, while we know it’s unlikely that Earth is the only planet that houses life, we have zero proof of any life anywhere other than on our home turf.
10 – The Flyby Anomaly,
- Occasionally we’ll have our spacecrafts do a flyby of Earth, that is to say that they come as close as possible without being caught up in the gravity, this can give a gravity slingshot effect which greatly increases their velocity.
- But the change in speed isn’t always predictable, there’s been multiple accounts of variable increases or decreases from the calculated speed and we just don’t know why it happens, or even why it doesn’t happen every time.
- One theory suggests that there’s a large halo of dark matter around the Earth, which would be a huge discovery, since as far as we know, dark matter should only affect large scale objects.
9 – Radio Dark and Light Spots On Venus,
- Venus is the hottest planet in our solar system, it also has the thickest atmosphere of any non-gas giant, which makes it that much harder to study, we generally study it by sending radio-wave probes.
- When we first did this we found something crazy, ‘the higher you go on Venus, the more radio-reflective the ground gets, until it abruptly goes radio-black’ – Elise Harrington, Student of Simon Fraser University.
- One theory is that it’s because of a special kind of crystal that changes reflective nature as it varies in temperature, another is that it’s because of ice made from metallic compounds, but neither explanation has been proven.
8 – Europa’s Missing Geysers,
- In late 2012 the Hubble Space Telescope captured an image of Europa, Jupiter’s frigid moon, spewing water into space from its south pole.
- This caused a lot of buzz amongst the astronomy community, using this water they could sample the oceans of Europa, testing for life without having to land a probe on its surface.
- However, ever since then scientists have tried to find out more about the plumes of water, only to find that there’s no evidence of them existing now or ever, they even checked a probe’s data that went by Jupiter in 2001 and still found nothing.
7 – Martian Chaos Terrain,
- Chaos terrain is pretty awesome to look at, but the chaos terrain on Mars is something else, with irregularly shaped large blocks up to thirty kilometres across and more than a hundred metres high.
- Possibly the most interesting part of this terrain is how we have little idea for how it formed, there’s theories that it was caused by huge amounts of water melting under the surface, corroding the formation much the same way most chaos terrain is formed.
- Then there’s the theory that it was caused by volcanic activity burying a thick layer of ice and then the ice evaporated thanks to Mars’s thin atmosphere, but either way it’s still mystery that remains to be solved.