What if space was breathable? This is the question that hit most of the curious minds for at least once.
Most part of our earth is breathable.
And what breathable means is the presence of oxygen aka ‘O’.
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!
According to a recent research, it was found that oxygen is one of the most abundant element in the known universe.
But it exists in complex form, compounding with other elements. And not as standalone oxygen gas.
Considering a popular 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 lets try to answer the very main question here. What if space was breathable? How the universe would have been different from today’s, if there was oxygen?
The Motion Would Stop
You know why the celestial bodies like planets, stars and comets and all those things keeps moving for millions of years? Vacuum!
Vaccum is the space with complete absence of any particle 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 round the Sun. There would have been permanent day on one surface and night on the other. The night side would have frozen. And day on fire!
Galaxies would no longer rotate with respect to its center. And the universe would no longer expand.
Earth Colide into 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 earth would have no choice but to fell to Sun. Scary enough!
Black Holes Everywhere
If the space was breathable, oxygen would have been the most dominating element in the universe.
The situation would have been just enough for formation of supermassive blackholes, 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 vaccum we earlier discussed about. It would have took years for your temperature to fall equall.
This is because theres no medium for heat to transfer from stars to space.
But if there was oxygen, it would have filled this gap. To transfer heat. You could die of boiling.
Atmospheric Pressure Goes High
We know that theres atmosphere on earth which is also responsible for pressure on planet. But thats 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. Causing 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 soon resulting in death of life.
Darkness on earth
As mentioned earlier, if space was breathable, earth would have attracted nearby oxygen. Causing the atmosphere to get dangerously denser.
It would have acted like 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 transfer of energy. The only way of energy travel in space is electromagnetic spectrum. I.e. in radiation form.
If 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 the times.
The sound an 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 a irritating experience. And we could have gone deaf already.
This sound is usually produced by stars while accumulating new material and other explosions
Don’t Worry! The Space Would Not Set on Fire
Unlike peoples beliefs. The space shouldn’t be catching fire if there was oxygen.
Take for example. There’s oxygen on earth everywhere. But when we light the match stick, does earth set on fire? Nope!
For fire to catch we need two things: oxygen + fuel. And how the Stars burns? Thats 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 last 14 billion years. Its getting only thiner and colder ever since big bang.
And while there’s abundance of different elements. Oxygen has been something of exception.
So the situation of breathable space is something will never come to existence. That means, the oxygen apacalypse is not to occur.
I hope it was a thundering and knowledgeable journey for you.
And if you have any confusion or got a query to ask – please comment below.