Where does space begin?

Shutterstock.com/Vadim Sadovski
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Space launches are fascinating to witness and even think about. A rocket leaps off the pad to space, sounding its way up and generating a shock wave of sound that clatters your bones if you’re within a few miles. Within a few minutes, it enters the space, available to deliver payloads.

But when does a spacecraft actually enters the space? It’s a valid question that doesn’t have a positive answer. There is no definite point that describes where space starts. There isn’t a line in the atmosphere with a symbol that says, “Space starts here!”

The boundary between earth and space

The boundary between space and “not space” is actually defined by our atmosphere. Below here on the surface of the planet, it supports life. Growing up through the atmosphere, the air constantly gets more fragile. There is evidence of the fumes we breathe more than a hundred miles above our planet, but ultimately, they thin out so much that it’s no different from the near-vacuum of space. Some satellites have measured thin bits of Earth’s atmosphere out to more than 800 kilometers away. All satellites orbit well above our atmosphere and are formally considered in space. There is no clear-cut line, so scientists had to come up with an authentic “border” among atmosphere and space.

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Today, the generally agreed-upon explanation of where space begins is around 100 kilometers (62 miles). It’s also called the von Kármán line. Anyone who crosses above 80 km (50 miles) in altitude is usually acknowledged a spaceman, according to NASA.

Exploring atmospheric layers

To understand why that’s challenging to determine where space begins, take a look at how our atmosphere works. Believe of it as a layer cake composed of gases. It’s thicker near the surface of our planet and weaker at the top. We live and work at the lowest level, and most individuals live in the lower mile or so of the atmosphere. It’s only when we move by air or climb high mountains that we get into areas where the air is considerably thin. The highest mountains rise up to between 4,200 and 9,144 meters (14,000 to nearly 30,000 feet).

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Types of space

Astrophotography’s and planetary experts often distribute the near-Earthspace environment into several regions. There is geospacer, which is the area of space nearest to the Earth but primarily outside the dividing line. Then, there’s cislunar space, which is the section that extends out ahead the Moon and includes both Earth and the Moon. Behind that is interplanetary space, which continues around the Sun and planets, out to the boundaries of the Oort Cloud. The following area is interstellar space which embraces the space between the stars. Ahead is galactic space and intergalactic space, which concentrates on the spaces within the galaxy and between galaxies, individually. In most circumstances, the area between stars and the enormous regions between galaxies is not really abandoned. Those regions normally contain gas molecules and dust and efficiently make up a vacuum.

Legal space

For ideas of law and record-keeping, most authorities study space to start at an altitude of 100 km (62 miles), the Von Kármán line. It’s described after Theodore Von Kármán, an engineer and physicist who struggled massively in aeronautics and astronautics. He was the person to discover that the atmosphere at this level is extremely thin to support aeronautical flight.

Politics and the Definition of Outer Space The concept of outer space is fundamental to several agreements that govern the friendly uses of space and the bodies in it. For example, the Outer Space Treaty (signed by 104 nations and first passed by the United Nations in 1967, holds countries from demanding sovereign territory in outer space. What that implies is that no country can stake a claim in space and keep others out of it.

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