• Question: why does the universe have no oxygen????

    Asked by persionsupreme to Anil, Blanka, Cees, Emma, Mike on 28 Jun 2012.
    • Photo: Emma Trantham

      Emma Trantham answered on 28 Jun 2012:

      Well bits of the universe do have oxygen, like the oxygen in our atmosphere. But perhaps you mean why is there no oxygen in space?

      There is a lot of oxygen around the Earth because Earth’s gravity pulls it in towards the planet and keeps it there. There is some oxygen in space but it is really really spread out and so there is not enough of it in one place for us to breathe in space. It is also not very commonly found in its molecule form (O2) which is the form we breathe but instead is found combined into other molecules.

      This new article reports when scientists first managed to identify the oxygen molecule that we breathe in space: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-14372708

    • Photo: Blanka Sengerova

      Blanka Sengerova answered on 28 Jun 2012:

      Wow, I hadn’t known that. Thank you, Emma.

      I guess too much oxygen would be too much, because it would lead to excessive oxidation of everything on earth, which effectively means burning of everything…?