Dotted Yeti

How metal acts in space

Space and the wider universe is something that we often struggle to understand. Only recently an explosion took place that was the second-largest ever discovered (smaller than the big bang). The diameter of the explosion was as wide as our whole galaxy, many times. This is almost impossible for our minds to visualize. That is because while the natural laws of physics govern our world, there are different laws in space. Gravity, oxygen levels, water levels, things that define who we are on earth and how we live are different out there.

One interesting example is in relation to oxygen levels. If you have two metals here on earth and touch them together, nothing will happen. If two metals touch in space, they will stick together. This strange fact is caused because on earth the presence of oxygen forms a thin layer of oxidization on any metal surface. Imagine this like any metal surface wearing a thin sock. The sock stops two metals from touching at an atomic level and therefore they can’t stick.

Don’t worry about space travel though. Any metal surfaces that have been on Earth will have the oxidized layer. Once they have the layer it does not go away easily. This is why NASA has nothing to worry about on space missions. Any metals that were not from Earth would stick together though.

If you are struggling to picture how metals could stick together, we were too. After reading a little more into this chemical action, it appears they would not stick together instantly. Instead, it would take significant pressure, time and vibrations. This process is actually replicated in many industrial factories as they force metals to bond.

This tiny little fact is just one example of how different space is. If metals stick together in space, we wonder what other strange things would take place that we simply take for granted here on Earth.