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So what is space made up of?

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Apparenly in space, there are 10^-6 molecules per cm^3 of space. If there are that few particles in space? What is space made up of?

This is just a place for people to discuss this question.

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Apparenly in space, there are 10^-6 molecules per cm^3 of space. If there are that few particles in space? What is space made up of?

This is just a place for people to discuss this question.

I honestly think that "space", that empty space between molecules, electrons all that good stuff... is nothing. Like, pure

"nothing". But that's from my own knowledge. And what makes it "something" is the attraction between all of the molecules.

Any other thoughts?

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So you are saying space is just nothing. There is just a void of nothingness. Thats is pretty difficult to comprehend. I feel that there must be some sort of tiny particle, smaller then an electron filling up the "void" with matter that is for example possibly extremely viscous so that it is unrecognizable and seemingly not there. Just a thought.

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Well I would assume it's nothing, but if now that you mention there are particles... hmm. could it be photons from different stars? I was a bit surprised it is nothing when I first found out about it, as I learned that waves need a medium to travel through. So they MAKE UP THEIR OWN MEDIUM LOLL. Since mediums are usually comprised of matter and all. It's called ether I think... so light can travel through haha XD

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Well I would assume it's nothing, but if now that you mention there are particles... hmm. could it be photons from different stars? I was a bit surprised it is nothing when I first found out about it, as I learned that waves need a medium to travel through. So they MAKE UP THEIR OWN MEDIUM LOLL. Since mediums are usually comprised of matter and all. It's called ether I think... so light can travel through haha XD

You're actually wrong, not all of the waves need a medium to travel through. These ones are called electromagnetic waves and comprise all along from radio ones with huge wavelenghts, to Gamma ones with huge frequencies. Light is part of the electromagnetic waves too so they do not make up their own medium. It is is pure vacuum, cmon people. Sometimes in phyiscs papers a question states that X Thing is travelling in a vacuum, so yeah, even though there are very small particles such as photons, not everything has matter on it. In fact, it is only a small percentage of the universe which is actually made of something!

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okay from a NON-SCIENCE approach :P for us who aren't science boffins lol

I think that space is the "unknown" <-- the obvious case :P but seriously, nobody actually knows whats out there. Imagine if there was another Earth like ours somewhere out there? but probably more advanced.. (?)

oh and the obvious cases what space is:

-planets

-stars (planets blowing up)

-suns

-moons

-galaxys

-ALIENS (hopefully :blum: )

Ooh, when i was little, i used to think that space was black pudding surrounding the earth o.O the stars were pieces of diamonds that people threw out of a plane into the sky (i hadn't been on a plane yet)....yea i know :blink:

and clouds were cotton... hahaha..

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Ok, the *real* answer for all you random people who apparently have no idea of the basic principles of physics..

Nothing. Probably far more than 99% of space is made up of nothing. This is hard to imagine for most people because of course the air we breathe, which appears to be nothing, is actually composed of millions and millions of gas molecules, but it's also pretty self-evident ... that's why they call it a vacuum, that's why astronauts wear complicated and incredibly expensive suits designed to ensure they have oxygen to breathe.

And seriously, there are so many misconceptions on this thread it makes me cry. Has nobody ever heard of Google?

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Ok, the *real* answer for all you random people who apparently have no idea of the basic principles of physics..

Nothing. Probably far more than 99% of space is made up of nothing. This is hard to imagine for most people because of course the air we breathe, which appears to be nothing, is actually composed of millions and millions of gas molecules, but it's also pretty self-evident ... that's why they call it a vacuum, that's why astronauts wear complicated and incredibly expensive suits designed to ensure they have oxygen to breathe.

And seriously, there are so many misconceptions on this thread it makes me cry. Has nobody ever heard of Google?

hmmm we're all entitled to our own opinions...even if there already is a logical explanation for space (which you just enlightened us all with that space is mostly nothing). Plus debating and seeing other peoples views on what THEY think space is part of TOK anyway is it not?

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Ok, the *real* answer for all you random people who apparently have no idea of the basic principles of physics..

Nothing. Probably far more than 99% of space is made up of nothing. This is hard to imagine for most people because of course the air we breathe, which appears to be nothing, is actually composed of millions and millions of gas molecules, but it's also pretty self-evident ... that's why they call it a vacuum, that's why astronauts wear complicated and incredibly expensive suits designed to ensure they have oxygen to breathe.

And seriously, there are so many misconceptions on this thread it makes me cry. Has nobody ever heard of Google?

hmmm we're all entitled to our own opinions...even if there already is a logical explanation for space (which you just enlightened us all with that space is mostly nothing). Plus debating and seeing other peoples views on what THEY think space is part of TOK anyway is it not?

Dear God in Heaven Zeus on Mount Olympus, no! Is it TOK to decide whether objects are made up of atoms or a combination of the elements fire, earth, water and air? Is it TOK to argue about whether the sun is responsible for heating up the earth or whether rain is made up of water?

You don't "choose" to "think" something about this ... you learn about it, there being a scientific consensus so vast and encompassing that the only reason you'd have a divergent opinion is madness, religious-madness, and ignorance. We are hovering firmly over option three, here, so like I said, Google is your friend.

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Ok, the *real* answer for all you random people who apparently have no idea of the basic principles of physics..

Nothing. Probably far more than 99% of space is made up of nothing. This is hard to imagine for most people because of course the air we breathe, which appears to be nothing, is actually composed of millions and millions of gas molecules, but it's also pretty self-evident ... that's why they call it a vacuum, that's why astronauts wear complicated and incredibly expensive suits designed to ensure they have oxygen to breathe.

And seriously, there are so many misconceptions on this thread it makes me cry. Has nobody ever heard of Google?

hmmm we're all entitled to our own opinions...even if there already is a logical explanation for space (which you just enlightened us all with that space is mostly nothing). Plus debating and seeing other peoples views on what THEY think space is part of TOK anyway is it not?

Dear God in Heaven Zeus on Mount Olympus, no! Is it TOK to decide whether objects are made up of atoms or a combination of the elements fire, earth, water and air? Is it TOK to argue about whether the sun is responsible for heating up the earth or whether rain is made up of water?

You don't "choose" to "think" something about this ... you learn about it, there being a scientific consensus so vast and encompassing that the only reason you'd have a divergent opinion is madness, religious-madness, and ignorance. We are hovering firmly over option three, here, so like I said, Google is your friend.

Okay i know where you're coming from, but im still saying that despite what science says, how about people who are uneducated and you were to ask them about what they think space is? What do you think they would say? Obviously they wouldn't say anything about atoms etc etc. They would say what they see. Visual perception is what they know and understand. Its not ignorance for some people, you can't really argue with a person from lets say a rural area here in zimbabwe because to them what they see is what they know. For example, some of them had never really seen a rose before, how were they to know it was a flower and meant to be beautiful? We showed them a rose and they thought it was some sort of ugly cabbage. When we told them what it actually was, they didn't want to believe it.

So like i said before, despite sciences, people are all entitled to their own opinions. Yea you may have sciences backing you up. But so what? (don't eat me up on that so what comment..lol)

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I'm afraid it's not as simple as "nothing" (I'm pretty sure everyone thinks they know what this term means but in reality they do not)

Different theories today posit different explanations for it. Take Quantum theory, says it's composed of tiny particles that appear, annihilate themselves with their opposite (antiparticles) and thus disappear. Now where do they come from? where do they go? who bloody knows XD at least I don't but I'm pretty sure there are theories around that one as well.

There is an amazing documentary by physics Michio Kaku on this topic. Of course I don't take physics in IB, just a hobby/fascination of mine.

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Jaymi, I'm gonna stop replying to you now. And please, don't bring ignoramuses from Zimbabwe into a debate on IBS, which (theoretically) involves bright IB students. In practice it involves ... IB students.

I'm afraid it's not as simple as "nothing" (I'm pretty sure everyone thinks they know what this term means but in reality they do not)

Different theories today posit different explanations for it. Take Quantum theory, says it's composed of tiny particles that appear, annihilate themselves with their opposite (antiparticles) and thus disappear. Now where do they come from? where do they go? who bloody knows XD at least I don't but I'm pretty sure there are theories around that one as well.

There is an amazing documentary by physics Michio Kaku on this topic. Of course I don't take physics in IB, just a hobby/fascination of mine.

Yeah, there's a little bit about this in Hawking's bestseller. It's very complex and the point is, matter and antimatter are in some way essentially opposites, so if one comes into existence the other one does too (analogous, maybe, to a neutral charge splitting into a positive and a negative charge), but ultimately, except for very special circumstances like at the edges of Black Holes, they annihilate each other.

Again, the basic principle is there is nothing there. Yes, the actual physics gets much messier, but these events are pretty rare anyways. And I didn't say 100% nothing. I said something like 99.99999999% ... the actual figure doesn't matter!

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The space between the nucleus and the orbiting electrons is 99% well, "nothing". The same goes for space? Now it all depends on what you define as nothing, and that in itself is a very difficult task. Is it simply the absence of particles? or of just oxygen? or is it a battlefield of virtual particles?

I think there needs to be 'something' there. Because you have over 95% of our universe made up of dark energy and dark matter which push and pull 'space' onto each other.

But you're right in that the physics down there gets very, very ugly and very very complex.

P.S. I lol'd at your (Daedalus) reaction to everyone's personal hypothesis XD

Edited by d3athlig3r

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The space between the nucleus and the orbiting electrons is 99% well, "nothing". The same goes for space? Now it all depends on what you define as nothing, and that in itself is a very difficult task. Is it simply the absence of particles? or of just oxygen? or is it a battlefield of virtual particles?

I think there needs to be 'something' there. Because you have over 95% of our universe made up of dark energy and dark matter which push and pull 'space' onto each other.

But you're right in that the physics down there gets very, very ugly and very very complex.

P.S. I lol'd at your (Daedalus) reaction to everyone's personal hypothesis XD

Dark matter is theorized to represent 83% of the matter in the universe (and dark energy is more complicated) but that doesn't have anything to do with what (the) space (in between) is largely made out of.

In the purest, most logical and cleareset explanation space is simply the absence of particles. Yes, there are meteors roaring around every now and then. And there are planets, although again, if you made a scale model of our solar system, and the sun had an 8-inch (20 cm) diameter, earth would be the size of a peppercorn and would have to be located 26 yards (24 meters) away from the it.

Also, think about it logically. The reason earth has an atmosphere - although quite complicated - is fundamentally to do with the gravitational forces of its mass. All matter exerts a gravitational force, but in Space, most of the time, you'd be floating, because you'd be too far from any sort of mass center to have it exert a measurable effect. The virtual particles thing is, from what I remember, something we had to invent (a bit like dark matter and dark energy) in order to account for some anomalies, although that might be completely wrong, but it's sort of like neutrinos -- millions of them pass through your body every second, but they're (clearly) impossible to feel and extremely tricky to detect. Particle physics is very complex, but it doesn't really come into this argument, which is about establishing what space is largely made up of, which is the absence of matter.

And the atom thing is much more complex again, because as you get down to the minute scale all the little laws of attraction and repulsion and stuff start to have a huge effect. This is why nano-particles behave so oddly. For example, you never actually touch anything: the electrons in one atom make the largely empty space have negative charge density, which repels electrons from another atom when they get close enough. Technically, when we lie down, we float. But that's basically irrelevant because it occurs on so small a scale, and it has no macro-scale equivalent: two planets getting closer and closer to each other would simply crash, and probably form a new, bigger planet, because on this scale gravitation forces are far more important than the trillions of billionths of charges hidden on the atomic level in each planet.

But again, people just have trouble comprehending the vastness, and the vast emptiness, of the universe. If you could somehow leave the earth's atmosphere, say, by being fired from a cannon from a hot air balloon somewhere where the air was already pretty thin, you'd gradually be able to breathe less, then not at all, lose your sense of weight, and start to move, through inertia, in the direction you were cast away and at the exact same speed.

Assuming you somehow solved the breathing and eating and excrement/piss problem, you would die of old age before you came within 100 kilometers of anything. I guarantee it.

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As with the others, I agree that Space is a void of nothingness. It completely has nothing, less of the course the meteors, the stars and other heavenly bodies in it.

I just felt like answering this because in physics class awhile ago, a classmate of mine asked what exactly is a vacuum, and asked whether light can exist in space.

It may be a little bit off, but this might help some of you understand the topic better. Light is both a particle and a wave, (wave-particle duality), therefore, it cannot exist in space. Just a trivia, maybe?

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