Solar System

Category archives for Solar System

Did Mars Once Have Three Moons? (Synopsis)

“The larger inner moons fall back to Mars after about 5 million years due to the tidal pull of the planet, after which the two outer satellites evolve into Phobos- and Deimos-like orbits.” -Pascal Rosenblatt, et al. Compared to the other moons we know of in the Solar System, Mars’s two, Phobos and Deimos, are incredibly difficult to…

“How vast those Orbs must be, and how inconsiderable this Earth, the Theatre upon which all our mighty Designs, all our Navigations, and all our Wars are transacted, is when compared to them.” -Christiaan Huygens It was quite a surprise when we started discovering all the exoplanets that were out there. While there’s a big…

How flat can a planet be? (Synopsis)

“‘I’ll follow him to the ends of the earth,’ she sobbed. Yes, darling. But the earth doesn’t have any ends.” -Tom Robbins We have some pretty good definitions of what it takes to be a planet, and one part of that definition is that a world needs to be massive enough to pull itself into…

“To morrow, I believe, is to be an eclipse of the sun, and I think it perfectly meet and proper that the sun in the heavens, and the glory of the Republic should both go into obscurity and darkness together.” -Benjamin F. Wade The Moon is spherical, and so its shadow should be a circle…

“By preventing dangerous asteroid strikes, we can save millions of people, or even our entire species. And, as human beings, we can take responsibility for preserving this amazing evolutionary experiment of which we and all life on Earth are a part.” -Rusty Schweickart Asteroid strikes are among the most destructive natural disasters to ever impact…

“The dance between darkness and light will always remain — the stars and the moon will always need the darkness to be seen, the darkness will just not be worth having without the moon and the stars.” -C. JoyBell C. What do you do when you discover a moon around Saturn that’s only visible during half of…

“Men of genius are often dull and inert in society; as the blazing meteor, when it descends to earth, is only a stone.” -Henry W. Longfellow When you look at the meteors striking Earth today, as well as over the past 466 million years, you find something surprising: they don’t line up with the population…

“Bringing an asteroid back to Earth? What’s that have to do with space exploration? If we were moving outward from there, and an asteroid is a good stopping point, then fine. But now it’s turned into a whole planetary defense exercise at the cost of our outward exploration.” -Buzz Aldrin Between recent statements from NASA,…

“We are inside this plasma, and plasma is inside everything. It is incandescent in the sun, and I am curious to know if you are able to stop orbiting yourself around it even for a second.” -Marieta Maglas The phenomenon of solar flares has been understood qualitatively but not quantitatively for a long time. The…

Just as a Chihuahua is still a dog, these ice dwarfs are still planetary bodies. The misfit becomes the average. The Pluto-like objects are more typical in our solar system than the nearby planets we first knew.” -Alan Stern The Pluto story just gets better and better. Although the flyby of July 2015 lasted only…