Why Is Space Called Space? The Simple Answer

The world beyond the skies has fascinated us all, and it is a constantly expanding universe. We have named this expanding universe “Space.” Although we have gotten so used to the term, it raises the question among us: why is it referred to as such when it is full of constellations of stars, planets, asteroids, and so much more? Why is space called space? And what does it actually mean?

Space is derived from the Latin word “spatium.” The word symbolizes the same thing as the English-translated word “space,” which may mean the free expansion and free area between any objects. Historically, poets started to refer to our expanding universe by the term ‘space’ due to the void of matter in this space, and it is still in use today.

Although it consists of a constellation of stars, planets, and whatnot, the majority of space is rather empty, with only stray dust and gas particles floating around. In this article, we will find out why is it called space and what space is actually made of.

Why Is It Called Space

The term ‘space’ itself is derived from the Latin word “spatium,” which essentially means the same thing as the English-translated word, a free expansion and emptiness between any objects. The term is often used in a science, mathematics, computing, or technology context. In a scientific context, the world beyond our skies is known as “space.” 

It is typically known as ‘outer space’ if referring to the region beyond a planet’s atmosphere in a modern context. The terms outer space and universe are similar. However, outer space only refers to the region between planets, whereas the universe also includes planets.

This is because space is relatively quite empty, and there is not much besides debris floating around in it. Historically, space was referred to as space in poetry; the term was then used to address the world beyond the skies. 

We can note that one of the earliest mentions referring to space and outer space was in the 17th century by the English poet John Milton in his poem Paradise Lost. With such references in poems, this term was adapted for a more scientific purpose as astronomical knowledge started to progress historically.

Is Space Void Of Matter?

Space is almost completely devoid of matter, has very low pressure, and is virtually a perfect vacuum. Due to the lack of molecules positioned close enough to one another, sound cannot travel over space. Bits of gas, dust, and another matter float in the “emptier” (but not quite empty) parts of the universe, while planets, stars, and galaxies can be found in the more congested parts. 

The comparatively empty areas of the cosmos outside the atmospheres of planets are referred to as outer space or just space. It starts for Earth at the height of roughly 100 km (62 miles). The “Kármán line” is the boundary between our atmosphere and outer space. This is an arbitrary line at an altitude where there isn’t much air to breathe or light to disperse. Beyond this altitude, the blue of our sky begins to give way to black because there aren’t enough oxygen molecules present to keep the sky blue.

Only a few stray particles of gas and dust are floating around; the majority of the space is quite empty. This implies that a probe sent by humans won’t experience “drag” in the same way that an airliner does as it travels through space.

Due to the vacuum environment in space and on the moon, the Apollo program’s lunar lander was built to resemble a spider. It didn’t have an aerodynamic structure because it was built for space, an area with no atmosphere. 

Although there is a vacuum in space, in addition to the debris in the ’empty’ regions of space, studies show that these regions are also home to various forms of radiation. In our own solar system, the solar wind (charged particles emitted by the sun) spreads throughout the solar system, occasionally producing auroras near the Earth’s poles. 

Cosmic rays from extrasolar supernovae are also flying through our neighborhood. To better understand what space is actually made of, refer to the following video:

What Makes Space Black?

This is a question that all of us have wondered at least once, why is the space black? The answer is that because space is a near-perfect vacuum, as we discussed before, It contains very few particles. There is hardly anything to scatter light to human eyes in the gap between stars and planets. Hence, they see black since there is no light reaching their eyes.

So what is dark matter, then? Dark matter is the invisible glue that holds the universe together. It appears to dominate all galaxies; galaxies are assumed to develop within vast halos of dark matter. 

While dark matter does not emit light or energy and hence cannot be directly viewed, scientists have discovered compelling evidence that it accounts for the vast bulk of matter in the universe. It is important to note that it differs from dark energy, which is still more unknown.

Space Exploration

Throughout history, we achieved great heights towards space exploration as science and technology progressed through time. The journey started with launching the first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1, into space and kept going.

As technology advances, we may soon be able to explore Mars, Saturn’s moon Titan, and even beyond. We may discover more information about what lies outside of our solar system. We can even find out if other intelligent beings exist in the universe. Even learning more about ourselves is possible due to space exploration.


This article discovered why the term ‘space’ is used for space. Space is a vast, empty area between stars. It has no solid boundaries, and it contains billions of galaxies. It also plays a big role in our lives. Space is often associated with outer space, but it’s a term used to describe anything outside of Earth. In other words, space is everywhere.

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