Solar System

Category archives for Solar System

Gravity’s Oldest Puzzles (Synopsis)

Every time you follow the motion of a spacecraft, moon, planet or other object through the Solar System, you’re putting the theory of gravity to the test. On one hand, there’s a robust set of predictions for what the behavioral motion of these bodies ought to be, while on the other there’s what we actually observe.…

“Men of genius are often dull and inert in society; as the blazing meteor, when it descends to earth, is only a stone.” –Henry Wadsworth Longfellow And yet, not all meteors nor all meteor showers are created equal. Some showers are duds, with the meteors being infrequent, inconsistent, short-lived and dim. Hardly worth mentioning. On…

“Studying whether there’s life on Mars or studying how the universe began, there’s something magical about pushing back the frontiers of knowledge. That’s something that is almost part of being human, and I’m certain that will continue.” –Sally Ride When you travel some hundred-million kilometers through space to land, softly, on another world, you deserve…

“Well, this is a thing unheard of. An Elf would go underground, where a Dwarf dare not. Oh, I’d never hear the end of it.” –Gimli, Lord of the Rings When you think about the different elements present here on Earth, I hope you think about the different ways they bind together, combine, and add…

“What was scattered, gathers. What was gathered, blows away.” –Heraclitus When you’re looking around in our Solar System, we’ve got the Sun at the center, the planets orbiting them, and then moons orbiting the planets in turn. But why is that necessarily the limit? Couldn’t we have “moonlets” or some other, smaller satellites orbiting the…

Is Pluto A Planet Now? (Synopsis)

“Words are the source of misunderstandings.” –Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Back in 2006, the International Astronomical Union officially defined the word “planet” for the first time, claiming that as long as something met all three of the following criteria: It was in hydrostatic equilibrium (pulled itself into a spherical/spheroidal shape under its own gravity), It didn’t orbit…

“Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.” –Mark Twain You probably think you know the eight planets pretty well, don’t you? Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, in order, with the four rocky inner worlds circumscribed by the four gas…

Solar System Answers (Synopsis)

“Put two ships in the open sea, without wind or tide, and, at last, they will come together. Throw two planets into space, and they will fall one on the other. Place two enemies in the midst of a crowd, and they will inevitably meet; it is a fatality, a question of time; that is…

How to soar on Venus (Synopsis)

“I remember as a kid having a balloon and accidentally letting the string go and watching it just float off and into the sky until it disappeared. And there’s something about that, even, that feels very much like what life is, you know, that it’s fleeting, and it’s temporal.” –Pete Docter So, you want to…

“Now, Venus is an extremely hostile environment, and as such presents a lot of challenges for a science fiction author who wants to create life there. However, as I began to research it more thoroughly, I found myself intrigued by the possibilities the world offers.” –Sarah Zettel Of all the worlds in our Solar System,…