By: Nick Hammel
Earth and its Moon
Earth is the only planet in our solar system known to harbor life. All the things we need to survive exist under a thin layer of atmosphere that separates us from the cold, airless vacuum of space. Earth is the third planet from the sun at a distance of about 150 million km from the sun. Earth is also an ocean planet, 70% of the Earth is covered in water. Our planet formed like every other planet. Over millions of years the dust clusters formed into grains, then lumps, boulders and eventually planets lots of gravitational pull. Slowly the rocky planets gained a steady orbit and the earth was still getting bombarded by asteroids and other objects. Our Earth was very hot and was full of lava and molten rock. The heavy material like lead fell to the center of the Earth and created a core. This core was moving and created magnetic poles. A long the line the moon came and crashed into the earth creating the tilt that it has. The moon started out close to the Earth and eventually started slowly moving away. The earth over millions of years had comets with ice and that's how we got our water. The earth cooled down and we got our atmosphere that protects us from solar flares and asteroids from damaging the earth and killing all life on it.
Mars is a cold desert world. It is half the diameter of Earth and has the same amount of dry land. Like Earth, Mars has seasons, polar ice caps, volcanoes, canyons and weather, but its atmosphere is too thin for liquid water to exist for long on the surface, because solar flares just wipe the water away. There are signs of ancient floods on Mars, but evidence for water now exists mainly in icy soil and thin clouds. Mars is the fourth planet from the sun at a distance of about 228 million km. One day on Mars takes just over 24 hours and 1 year is 687 earth days. Mars has a thin atmosphere made up mostly of carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and argon.
The most massive planet in our solar system is Jupiter, it has dozens of moons and an enormous magnetic field. Jupiter resembles a star because it's so big, but did not grow big enough to ignite. The planet's swirling cloud stripes are punctuated by massive storms such as the Great Red Spot, which has raged for hundreds of years. Jupiter is the fifth planet from the sun, it is at a distance of 778 million km from the sun and it takes 10 hours for it to complete one day. It completes a orbit every 4,333 earth days. Jupiter has 50 known moons with an additional 17 moons awaiting confirmation of their discovery.