Brits don’t know their Uranus from their Venus – half of Brits admit they know nothing about the universe, according to new research

A staggering 49 percent of Brits admit they know nothing about space, according to a new survey from Livat Hammersmith ahead of the launch of the SpaceLab, giving the whole family a passport to space through a series of interactive and educational activities at the meeting place.

The research reveals that 61 percent of Brits have no idea how many planets are in our solar system, with one in five of those polled (20 percent) insist there are nine instead of the correct number of eight.

According to the study, 14 percent of the nation were unable to name ANY planets at all, while a significant three quarters (76 percent) had no idea that Neptune is the farthest planet from the Sun.

One in five (22 percent) think that astrology (the study of the movements and positions of the sun, moon, planets, and stars in the belief that they affect the character and lives of people) is just another word for astronomy (the scientific study of the universe and of objects that exist naturally in space). 33 percent admit they have more knowledge about astrology and horoscopes than the universe.

When it comes to extraterrestrial life, a third (33 percent) think it exists beyond Earth, with 16 percent believing aliens have already visited Earth. Three percent say they have seen a UFO.

Nearly half (48 percent) aren’t able to identify any of the major stars or star patterns, yet more than half (56 percent) said they feel in awe when they look up into the vastness of the night sky.

“Despite our study showing that 85 percent wished they knew more about astronomy and space, while more than half (55 percent) admitted that they find space interesting and fascinating (49 percent), the research also shows the relatively little we know about space. With the launch of the SpaceLab, we’re aiming to change that, and show that what happens beyond Earth’s walls is there to be both learnt and explored in equal measure.” says Anna Larsen, Marketing Manager at Ingka Centres.

The research also found that only a tenth (12 percent) would be able to identify Ursa Major – known as the plough – dropping to just eight percent for Ursa Minor – the little Bear.

In fact, 37 percent admitted they had no idea what Ursa Minor was, while three percent of those quizzed thought it might be a musical note rather than a pattern of stars.

When it came to the brightest star, just 38 percent said they would be able to locate the North Star, while only 25 percent could find the constellation of Orion.

A third (33 percent) have no idea when man landed on the moon (it was 1969) with nearly one in three (29 percent) thinking it happened in another year or not knowing at all.

A confused three percent went a step further and claimed the moon landings never happened at all and were actually a hoax.

10 percent thought that Buzz Aldrin was the first person to walk on the moon and utter the famous words ‘one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind’ and not Neil Armstrong.

One in twenty (four percent) think that Nebula is a medical condition rather than a formation of gas and particles which gives off light, while a fifth (20 percent) believe the Earth revolves around the moon, instead of the other way round.

A whopping 92 percent believe that everyone should have a basic understanding of the universe around them, even though for 86 percent the thought of endless space baffles them.

Natalia Petelina, Meeting Place Manager at Livat Hammersmith added: “To help inspire a better understanding of space and the world around us, Livat Hammersmith will open the SpaceLab this week, specially designed to encourage parents, children and visitors to unite under the planets and stars and explore beyond the Earth’s walls. The activities in SpaceLab are for all ages, those curious and young at heart, and are sure to be a galactic hit with parents in London”.The SpaceLab will be on at Livat Hammersmith from Monday 23rd – Saturday 28th October.

Research of 2,000 Britons was commissioned by Livat Hammersmith and was conducted by Perspectus Global in October 2023.