Magazine article Children's Technology and Engineering

Our Crazy Quilt of Planets

Magazine article Children's Technology and Engineering

Our Crazy Quilt of Planets

Article excerpt

If all trees were blue, and every tree you had ever seen was blue, would you ask "Why are trees blue?" Maybe not. But if suddenly one day you saw a green tree, wouldn't you ask "Why is this tree green, when all the others are blue?" That's what happens when you discover new things. It makes you curious. It makes you want to know why one thing is this way, and another thing is that way.

That's what exploring the solar system has done for humans. Before NASA's two Voyager spacecraft explored them in the 1970s and 80s, we didn't know very much about Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. The Voyagers revealed surprising differences among even Jupiter's four largest moons. Io had active volcanoes. Europa was covered in ice with crazy, crisscrossing cracks. Saturn's rings had "spokes," and in Saturn's atmosphere, the wind was blowing at over 1,000 miles per hour. Neptune's moon Triton had ice volcanoes. What a bunch of weird places!

Many other NASA spacecraft have orbited or flown past these and other planets, moons, comets, and asteroids in our solar system. All in all, we have learned that our solar system is stranger and more diverse than anyone imagined. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.