Our exploration of the Solar system moves away from the fiery inner solar system to find a blue planet in the more temperate climes of space – we find our own planet Earth.
Earth was not named after Greek and Roman Gods and Goddesses like other planets and moons in the solar system. Instead the name Earth is of English / German origin and simply means ground. Other names used is the Greek word Gaia and the Latin Terra.
Earth is the densest planet in the solar system and has the largest moon compared to it’s size. The moon’s gravity pull affect the Earth as it passes around us. The most notable effect are the rising and falling sea levels with the tide. But it’s not hard to imagine that’s it’s pull kneads the Earth’s surface a little.
Facts about Earth
- Earth completes and orbit one rotation (one day) every 23 hours, 56 minutes and 4 seconds.
- Earth is travelling at 66,000 miles per hours to orbit the Sun once every 365 days 5 hours, 48 minutes and 56 seconds.
- Earth has a dense atmosphere comprising of 78% Nitrogen, 21% Oxygen and 1% other stuff.
- Earth is 93,000,000 (93 million) miles away from the sun. This distance is known as an AU (Astronomical Unit) used to define the distance of objects from the Sun.
- Earth is the only object in the solar system known to harbour life (at this time common knowledge is that Earth is the only object in the Universe known to hrbor life).
Holst wasn’t kind enough to have composed me a piece on Earth. This is a bad thing in a way – but it also means that a piece for Earth is yet to be composed. But for now, Thomas Bergersons’s Creation of Earth is an amazing place to start:
With this to inspire us… only our imagination is the limit:
Missions to Earth
It’s often been said that we know more about other planets than we do about Earth, particularly it’s deep and mysterious oceans. What human kind has been doing over the last decades is finding out about this planet of ours, how it works and how we work when we’re away from it.
The space shuttle took us those first steps towards frequent, long periods of time in space in Earth’s orbit. Sadly the poor shuttle is no longer used instead opting for cheaper craft that have a single use that take us to the International Space Station (ISS) a station the size of a football field, orbiting the Earth constantly helping us find out how we’re going to expand beyond our mother planet.
Earth’s landscapes have been formed by water, wind, ice and every other force that can be imagined. These pictures show some of the results of this work in action.
Earth has it’s own single moon, the largest compared with it’s mother planet at about a quarter of the size and a sixth of Earth gravity. It’s a world where the is no atmosphere and liquid water cannot exist on it’s surface. However water ice does exist under the surface and in deep craters.
The moon’s day is the same amount of time as it takes to orbit the Earth. This means that the Moon is tidally locked to the Earth – we can only see one side of the Moon from the Earth. It has only been since space exploration that we have seen the far side of the Moon.
The Moon has been the focus of mankind for thousands of years, our desire to find out what the Moon is and how we can get there has obsessed us. During the late 1960’s and early 1970’s several manned missions were launched and were successful in gathering Moon rock and carrying out experiments.
The Moon remains a serious focus for our exploration of the stars. Launching object from the Moon will require much less energy than from the Earth. The first Moon base was recently proposed, rather than being based on the surface, it’s thought it could be an orbital station, controlling rovers and other equipment remotely.
It’s concept is similar to ISS but likely to be smaller and cheaper to make the huge running cost more viable. Whatever happens in the end – the Moon is going to play a big part of our journey towards the stars.
No ownership claimed on materials or pictures – Credit to NASA and other owners.
A little more for you… because I’m kind like that!
More on Earth…