13 Scientific Mysteries Still Waiting to Be Solved

Science has helped us understand many things in our Universe, but these examples appear to have foxed it.
Christopher McFadden
Tabby's Star, Mars' Hole1, 2

Science is a very powerful tool to help us understand the Universe around us. But it is not foolproof

So much so, that there are some fundamental aspects of, well everything, that it is yet to be figured out. Here are some interesting examples.

What scientific mysteries are yet to be solved?

So, without further ado, here are some scientific mysteries that are yet to be solved. Trust us when we say this list is far from exhaustive.

It is also in no particular order.

1. We are still not sure why we sleep

13 Scientific Mysteries Still Waiting to Be Solved
Source: Viacheslav Peretiatko/iStock

Despite many decades of research, and many theories, science still can't explain exactly why we sleep. We do know, more or less, what happens while we are asleep, but the main reason for it is still unknown.

There are plenty of other lifeforms that never actually sleep, such as jellyfish, bacteria, plants, and sponges, for example. So why is it that higher animals have to sleep to stay sane, fit and healthy. 

It clearly has some evolutionary advantage, but we are yet to really explain why we do it.

2. How does an EM drive work?

There have been quite a few rumors about NASA's apparently physics-breaking propulsion system -- the EM drive. A paper was released and peer-reviewed and China have even made claims that they have their own versions too. 

Yet, no one can really explain how this fuel-less drive is able to break Newton's Third Law. That is, how is it able to create momentum out of nowhere? Hopefully, we will be able to clear this one up very soon.

3. Somewhere out there is a ninth planet... but where?

After Pluto lost its official title as the ninth planet of our solar system, our total cache of planets dropped to eight. But scientists have found evidence that there is a huge ninth planet out there somewhere.

Situated somewhere on the edge of the solar system, astronomers are yet to discover its whereabouts. After NASA recruited thousands of new people to hunt for it, some tantalizing evidence was uncovered back in 2017.

This is a mystery that may be about to be solved. 

4. Humpback whales form "super-groups" for some reason

unsolved scientific mysteries whales
Source: ashala Tylor/Flickr

It appears that humpback whales like to congregate in large groups for some mysterious reason. Back in March of 2017, never-before-seen groups of 200+ individuals were spotted off the coast of South Africa.


This is very strange as scientists are only used to seeing these usually solitary creatures in groups of no more than 7. Theories range from changes in prey availability to the species making an impressive comeback. 

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But the jury really is still out. 

5. The Great Pyramid of Giza has a massive void underneath it, but why?

unresolved scientific mysteries pyramid
Source: Never House/Flickr

Archaeologists have discovered evidence of a massive void underneath the pyramid's northern face. There is also another cavity high up on its northeastern edge. 

Yet to be explored, it is suspected that these could be secret chambers that have eluded looters and archaeologists for millennia. It is now hoped to gain access to them and create some scans to figure out what they are very soon. 

6. What the hell are fast radio bursts?

Fast radio bursts are arguably the weirdest phenomena in the known universe. They are some of the most explosive signals ever detected by science from space.

Scientists are having trouble figuring out what exactly they are, to the point where some claim they could be from Aliens. However, this mystery may soon be solved thanks to the exact location of one being pinpointed back in 2017. 

7. What the hell is the "Tully Monster"?

unsolved scientific mysteries tully
Source: James St. John/Flickr

Officially called Tullimonstrum, only one fossil of this 300-million-year-old creature has ever been discovered. It had fins like a cuttlefish, eyestalks like a crab and an impressively creepy "jaw-on-a-stick."

Looking like something a mad man had created from spare pieces of animals, science is having trouble figuring out where it sits on the family tree of animals.

8. What's going on with "Tabby's Star"?

unsolved mysteries KIC-8462852
Source: Kanijoman/Flickr

KIC 8462852 (or Tabby’s star), located around 1,500 light-years away keeps experiencing dims in its brightness of around 22%. Normal stars only ever experience a dimming of around 1%, so what is going on here? 

Scientists are currently at a loss to explain this, and some have even claimed that it is proof of some kind of "Alien Megastructure" orbiting the sun. 

9. There is a strange, deep hole on Mars. But why?

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter recently discovered a strange surface feature on Mars over its south pole. There appears to be a very large, hundreds of meters across, hole in the Martian surface.

Did something punch through its surface? Or was there some enormous collapse in the region? Scientists are yet to offer a satisfactory explanation without further investigation.

10. What is gravity anyway?

unresolved scientific mysteries gravity
Source: vchal/iStock

Despite is being one of the universe's fundamental forces, gravity is a very strange thing. So much so, that many scientists postulate that it might be an affectation of something else and not a "real" thing.

"Theorists have a few ideas. One longtime effort has tried reconciling relativity—which describes gravity as a consequence of curved spacetime—with quantum mechanics by ascribing gravity to fields of particles called gravitons. Or perhaps gravity really is as strong as the other three forces, but its influence leaks into extra dimensions." - National Geographic

11. Where is everyone? Are we alone in the Universe?

One of the oddest, yet to be solved, scientific mysteries is if we are alone in the Universe? According to the Fermi Paradox, the chances of their being other life-bearing planets out there are pretty good, but we are yet to hear a peep from anyone.

Some have postulated that the laws of the Universe inevitably lead to the demise of life whenever, and wherever it arises. If true, then life has started, flourished, and possibly reached sophisticated civilizations many times in the past only to eventually be snuffed out.

As scary as that sounds, it is unlikely to stop mankind from hunting for potential neighbors until our own, eventual demise. 

12. What is the Universe made of?

unresolved scientific mysteries dark matter
Source: haru_q/Flickr

Everything that man has found in the Universe, from galaxies to atoms, makes up only around 5% of all the stuff out there. What is the rest of it?

About 27%, or so, is believed to be something called dark matter, but since it doesn't reflect light we can't detect it. Astronomers are convinced this stuff exists as without it everything would just fly apart.

Some have suggested it is made of something called weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPS), while others have suggested it could be made of sterile neutrinos

Whatever it is, until we can develop detectors to spot it, we may never know for sure. 

13. What is the origin of life?

scientific mysteries origin of life
Source: NASA GODDARD/Flickr

And finally, one of the big ones. Science has yet to explain just how life began.

But it is not a question unique to science. Mankind has been attempting to answer this for many, many millennia. 

Religious explanations aside, there are myriad scientific theories about how we, and every other living thing came to be. Ideas range from life being delivered to Earth from somewhere else (Panspermia) to clay particles helping to create the first RNA strands. 

Whether or not we will ever be able to answer this is anyone's business, but it is certainly one of the most intriguing questions that science is attempting to answer. 

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