Dispelling Every Space Myth You Learned In 7th Grade Science

The Cracked Podcast #153 November 21, 2016

Believe it or not, Matthew McConaughey’s thesis (from behind a bookshelf inside a black hole) that love is the most powerful force in the universe isn’t the most scientifically accurate thing Hollywood has offered us lately. It should come as no surprise that movies take a lot of liberties with astrophysics and what is possible or impossible in the realm of outer space. Like, sending up a crew of men less qualified than Donald Trump (too soon?) to blow up an asteroid? That’s probably not in NASA’s Plans A through “we ran out of letters” of how to stop a meteor on a collision course with Earth. 

Even in more fantastical movies like the Star Wars or Star Trek films, you just get very inadequate image in your head of how space works. Take asteroid belts, for example. It’s a belt! Made of asteroids! Asteroids as far as the eye can see! You can’t safely pilot your ship through them because there are just so many damn asteroids! I’ve had it with these motherf**king asteroids on this motherf**king belt! 

We’re sorry to say that’s now how the asteroid belt works at all. The average distance between bodies in the asteroid belt is 600,000 miles, which is more than double the distance between the Earth and the Moon. So traveling through the asteroid belt is less dodging asteroids like Han Solo and more, “we passed through the asteroid belt?” To dispel some more myths about how space works, Jack O’Brien and Alex Schmidt are joined by Dr. Farah Alibay, a real life scientist at JPL who gets to play with styrofoam models of planets all day and is currently working on a mission that’s trying to scoop a 2o-ton boulder off an asteroid, which is as cool as it sounds. 


Farah Alibay Bio : https://goo.gl/iM4NI7

Podcast: How NASA Was Born Out of Magic Loving, Orgy Having Nerds : https://goo.gl/sbSjcR  

Video: To Scale – The Solar System : https://goo.gl/yxUggj

GIF: Jupiter’s Surface in Motion : https://goo.gl/BEUaJz

Video: Pigeons in Space : https://goo.gl/H3Anrr

Video: Spiders in Space : https://goo.gl/VrQQkJ  

Video: Russian Meteor Reaction : https://goo.gl/R6WKTA

Image Gallery: Cupola Module on the ISS : https://goo.gl/IJUO5U

Article: The Drake Equation : https://goo.gl/rYZVzF

Article: Myths Everyone Believes About Space (Thanks To Movies) : https://goo.gl/H0WiLF

Article: Things About Space You’re Picturing Almost Exactly Wrong : https://goo.gl/qDDpgn

Article: Reasons Space Travel Will Always Suck : https://goo.gl/VfNZ

Article: Reasons Life in Space Sucks (That Sci-Fi Doesn’t Show You) : https://goo.gl/jNuONd

Article: The Most Mind-Blowing Things Ever Discovered in Space : https://goo.gl/XztW9

Article: Real Planets Way Weirder Than Anything in Science Fiction : https://goo.gl/Rb6Yy6

Article: Mind-Blowing Things Found in Our Own Solar System : https://goo.gl/Azquk

This episode is brought to you by Squarespace and MVMT Watches.

Hear the Episode


Newsletter Signup