The Cosmic Chronicles – Harmony from Chaos

From the Earth, to the Sun and out towards the great interstellar unknown every object has it’s story. All these things making up the universe, our solar system and life on Earth is as much a part of this great infinite clockwork. In fact the word Cosmos means the universe as a complex, ordered entity, delicately tied together with forces and matter. We are the great paradox, the universe looking upon itself and learning, maybe giving it meaning. Epic and almost unimaginable events have unfolded to make the Cosmos as we see it now, stories have unravelled before there was even a human around to tell the story. Long after the human race is gone the great cosmic story will keep unfolding until time is meaningless. Slowly we pick up the events piece by piece and these Stories of the Cosmos tell some of what currently know and understand.

Harmony from Chaos

The signs are all over the solar system, images beamed back from every world from Mercury to beyond Pluto the marks of a cosmos in chaos are written all over it. Destruction has carved it’s mark all over the rocky worlds around us. Where erosion hasn’t wiped away their existence the marks forever left tell their story of how our local corner of the cosmos formed and give us clues on what happened, when it happened and what makes up each of little piece of the jigsaw.

If we look at our nearest celestial neighbour there’s clues, clues to what happened and when they might have happened. Some craters are older, faded by the debris thrown up from the impacts that formed younger craters, lava floes that cooled and solidified countless eons ago leaving behind all but feint marks. The newer craters stand out more prominently, with sharper edges that can be clearly seen.

The Moon – Credit NASA

As we look further the story is repeated all through the solar system, old craters, obliterated by new craters or by lava or ammonia ice. The early solar system was a chaotic and violent place. The events that caused this were so long ago that it’s not possible to know for sure what triggered them, the last big event was called the late heavy bombardment.

The Late Heavy Bombardment

The late heavy bombardment is thought to be the last big event where lots of material was thrown about the solar system in a relatively short time. It’s possible this was caused by Neptune moving further away from the Sun before it settled into the steady orbit it now has. The act of moving away would have caused thousands or millions of object to be disturbed in their orbits and drawn in towards the Sun.

The result of this can be seen all over the solar system, almost every solid planet, Moon and asteroid that has ever been discovered by man has been affected by crater impact. Even on the farthermost object we’ve ever seen up close – Ultima Thule far out beyond Pluto has craters.

Knowing this means we have a way to start aging the surfaces of worlds and determine how old or young they might be. Where local geology has wiped out the craters it’s relatively new – where several generation of craters can be seen like on the Moon, the surface is old. Every square mile on Mars suffered the impact of thousands of millions of tonnes of impact debris over this period of chaos and destruction and yet the weather and water on the planet has eroded much of this. This aging of worlds help us build a picture of the sequence of events that have taken place in our corner of the cosmos.

Harmony from Chaos

For eons now the bombardment has calmed enough and for long enough that life and civilization has emerged and thrived on one world in the solar system, the millions of pieces of rock and ice have either made their marks or are now shepherded by the gas giants with relatively little remaining elsewhere. While the space seems empty there is always danger, life life on Earth spared by the cosmic clock work of harmony we exist in. Impacts still take place though and their marks can still be seen, even on Earth sometimes, in these days though it is a rarity we take for granted.

© Simon Farnell 2013 – 2023

Images remain property of original owners.

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