Solar System

Category archives for Solar System

The Far Future of our Solar System

“No valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now.” -Alan Watts “They do not see what lies ahead, when Sun has faded and Moon is dead.” -J.R.R. Tolkien One of the most amazing facts about the Universe is that, despite only having spent a few hundred years…

Missions to Mars and Nuclear Fusion

“We are much closer today to being able to send humans to Mars than we were to being able to send men to the moon in 1961, and we were there eight years later. Given the will, we could have humans on Mars within a decade.” -Robert Zubrin Of all the planets in the Solar…

The Universe Just Keeps Trying to Kill Us

“Don’t wake me for the end of the world unless it has very good special effects.” -Roger Zelazny It’s always the ones you least expect that get you the worst, it seems. I went to bed last night excited that Asteroid 2012 DA14, a 200,000 ton asteroid, was going to pass within just 28,000 km (or…

The Physics of Sunsets

“It does no harm to the romance of the sunset to know a little bit about it.” -Carl Sagan I would argue the exact opposite, in fact: the beauty of a sunset, in all of its varieties and variations, is only enhanced the more you know about it. The next time you watch the Sun…

The Solar Storm of a Lifetime

“Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.” -Alexander Graham Bell Imagine a beautiful, clear day. The Sun is shining, the skies are clear, and you couldn’t ask for a nicer day. All of a sudden, the Sun itself appears to brighten, just for…

Weekend Diversion: The Methuselah of Mars

“In any field, find the strangest thing and then explore it.” -John Archibald Wheeler Sometimes, things get difficult. Sometimes, there are challenges you have to face that you never even expected, much less were prepared for. And sometimes, it seems like there’s no point in even holding on to hope that things will get better.…

How Many Planets Are In The Universe?

“Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.” -Ray Bradbury It wasn’t all that long ago — back when I was a boy — that the only planets we knew of were the ones in…

The Longest Full Moon of the Year

“Tell me what you feel in your room when the full moon is shining in upon you and your lamp is dying out, and I will tell you how old you are, and I shall know if you are happy.” -Henri Frederic Amiel Tonight is a special night, although not for the reasons you may think.…

The Science of the Real End of The World

“I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people who have a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.” -Eric Roth, screenwriter Forget the prognosticators, the fortune-tellers and the mediums. Pay…

“Death comes to all, but great achievements build a monument which shall endure until the sun grows cold.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson In the great cosmic ocean, there’s only one planet that we know — for certain — has the right conditions and history to result in intelligent life: our own. Life — or even intelligent life —…