Solar System

Category archives for Solar System

“They say once you grow crops somewhere, you have officially ‘colonized’ it. So technically, I colonized Mars. In your face, Neil Armstrong!” -Andy Weir In the early 1960s, humanity began launching spacecraft to Mars, hoping to find out what the red planet was truly like. While early images revealed a heavily cratered surface, similar to…

“Finding out that something you have just discovered is considered all but impossible is one of the joys of science.” -Mike Brown In January of last year, astronomers Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown shocked the world by proposing that there was a world larger than Earth located some five-to-ten times as distant as Neptune. That…

“I long ago abandoned the notion of a life without storms, or a world without dry and killing seasons. Life is too complicated, too constantly changing, to be anything but what it is. And I am, by nature, too mercurial to be anything but deeply wary of the grave unnaturalness involved in any attempt to…

“A few centuries ago, the pioneer navigators learnt the size and shape of our Earth, and the layout of the continents. We are now just learning the dimensions and ingredients of our entire cosmos, and can at last make some sense of our cosmic habitat.” -Martin Rees You might think that Jupiter is the largest…

“There is a fine line between censorship and good taste and moral responsibility.” -Stephen Spielberg Another week full of amazing science stories has gone by here at Starts With A Bang, and there are some fun and fantastic announcements! We welcomed a new contributor, Jess Shanahan, to our ranks; I found out that Forbes has…

“Resources exist to be consumed. And consumed they will be, if not by  this generation then by some future. By what right does this forgotten  future seek to deny us our birthright?” -Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri The dream of humanity has long been to identify an inhabited world beyond Earth, to know for certain that…

“Aha! That satellite was scuttled on Enceladus, Saturn’s main dump moon!” -Professor Farnsworth, Futurama When you think about life beyond Earth, you likely think of it occurring on a somewhat Earth-like planet. A rocky world, with either a past or present liquid ocean atop the surface, seems ideal. But that might not even be where life…

“You can spend too much time wondering which of identical twins is the more alike.” -Robert Brault When we think of the idea of “Earth’s twin,” we inevitably think of a planet like ours orbiting a star like ours at the same distance and speed. Most planets are not rocky and Earth-sized; most stars are not…

“I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn’t feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.” -Neil Armstrong The full Moon is undoubtedly bright. As viewed from the Earth’s surface, it’s the second brightest object of all, after the Sun, and is more…

“One should not need a teleportation device to decide whether a newly discovered object is a planet.” -Jean-Luc Margot It was a harsh lesson in astronomy for all of us in 2006, when the International Astronomical Union released their official definition of a planet. While the innermost eight planets made the cut, Pluto did not.…