The universe is a vast place, so it probably doesn’t come as a surprise that there are a lot of mysteries that cannot (and probably will not ever) be solved. Black holes, dark matter, and issues related to quantum mechanics are understandably puzzling. But on the other hand, you don’t have to look off into a distant galaxy to find phenomena that confound scientists. Here are 10 space mysteries that we are still trying to wrap our heads around.
1. The Glowing Eyes of Ceres
A new amazing mystery was discovered in 2015 when the Dawn spacecraft approached Ceres, the largest object in the Asteroid Belt. When Dawn took photos of what appeared to be a single glowing white spot, but as it approached closer, scientists noticed a whole series of these spots. One theory is that it is caused by a type of salt reflecting light. Other scientists speculate that Ceres was hit by an asteroid that resulted in the shiny material that we now see. Either way, it’s still not entirely known.
2. Monolith on Mars
For quite some time there has been speculation about the existence of various structures on Mars that seem to have been made by intelligent life forms, but most of these – such as the Mars “face” – have been thoroughly debunked. However, the Mars monolith still remains a mystery. Discovered after photo of it was taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, it is a rectangular object that measures 16.4 ft (5 meters) wide. Even weirder is a similar monolith on the Martian moon of Phobos, which measures 278 ft (85 meters) across! The fact that Buzz Aldrin himself asked the question, “Who put that there?” is enough to make us wonder.
3. The Origins of the Moon
We all know what the moon is, right? It’s that bright white thing that you see in the sky at night. It rotates around the Earth once a day, creates our ocean tides and all that jazz. But while no object outside of Earth has ever been the subject of so much study than the moon, we have no idea how it formed. One theory is that as the solar system was in its infancy, a Mars-sized planet collided with what would become the Earth, creating a chunk of rock that become the Moon. Another suggestion is that the Moon was merely passing by than got caught by the Earth’s gravitational pull, and Earth adopted it like we would a stray dog. With just as much love, one would hope.
4. Shadow Bans
Total eclipses are something of a mystery, guys. If you just thought, “No! Total eclipses are completely understood” then it means I have the power to read your mind. We obviously know that a total eclipse occurs when the moon moves in front of the sun, obscuring its view. However, what confuses scientists is a phenomenon known as shadow bans. As the moon begins to cover the sun completely, mysterious, shadowy ripples can be observed. They move over everything on earth like waves from the sea. There are a couple of theories about what they might be. Some claim an eclipse creates turbulence in the atmosphere and results in light bending in the air currents. Others speculate that it could be caused by supersonic shockwaves created by the moon’s shadow. In any event, nobody is certain.