The Solar System

Mr. Taylor, Period 7, 3-13-14

How Old Is Our Solar System?

By studying several things, mostly meteorites, and using radioactive dating techniques, specifically looking at daughter isotopes, scientists have determined that the Solar System is 4.6 billion years old. The Solar System formed 4.6 billion years ago from the gravitational collapse of a giant molecular cloud.

What Is The Compositon Of The Planets?

Mercury- Rocky planet with many craters.

Venus- Similar to basaltic volcanic rocks found on Earth. Its surface is covered with lava flows, quake faults and impact craters. Venus has abundant small volcanoes and long lava flows.

Mars- A small rocky body once thought to be very Earth-like. Volcanism, impacts from other bodies, movements of its crust,  and atmospheric effects such as dust storms have changed its surface.

Jupiter- Its core is probably not solid but a dense, hot liquid with a consistency like thick soup. The pressure inside Jupiter may be 30 million times greater than the pressure at Earth's surface.

Saturn- Is a "gas giant." It is made mostly of hydrogen and helium.

Uranus- Is a "gas giant" with no solid surface. It may have a small, silicate-rich core, but most of its gas consists of water, ammonia and methane.

Neptune- Has no solid surface.

Pluto- Perhaps methane ice. 

Earth- Basaltic and granitic rock and altered materials.

What Holds All The Planets Together?

Gravitational force is what holds the solar system together. The planets orbiting the Sun are held in their places by this gravitational force. Gravity is one of the four fundamental forces of nature, along with electromagnetism, and the nuclear strong force and weak force. Even though scientists haven't traveled to all the planets, they still know there masses. They know this by applying the laws of gravity to the measured characteristics of the orbit. In space an object maintains its orbit because of the force of gravity acting upon it.

What Will Happen If The Sun Dies?

Astronomers generally agree that the Sun will burn up its hydrogen fuel supply sometime in the next 5 billion to 7 billion years. As it does, gravity will force the sun to collapse into its core, which will ratchet up the heat on the remaining hydrogen and cause the sun to expand into a red giant. At this point, the Sun will swallow the Earth.

What Is Jupiter's Big Red Eye?

Jupiter's Great Red Spot a anticyclonic storm that is larger than Earth. The storm is large enough to be visible through Earth-based telescopes with an aperture of 12 cm or larger. The oval object rotates counterclockwise, with a period of about six days. The Great Red Spot's dimensions are 24–40,000 km × 12–14,000 km. It is large enough to contain two or three planets of Earth's diameter. The maximum altitude of this storm is about 5 miles above the surrounding cloudtops.

Why Don't We Consider Pluto A Planet Anymore?

Astronomers weren’t sure about Pluto’s mass until the discovery of its largest moon Charon, in 1978.  The most accurate measurement currently gives the size of Pluto at 2,400 km across. Although this is small, Mercury is only 4,880  km across. Pluto is tiny, but it was considered larger than  anything else past the orbit of Neptune.Instead of being the only planet in its region, like the rest of the Solar  System, Pluto and its moons are now known to be just a large example of a  collection of objects called the Kuiper Belt. Astronomers estimate that there are at least 70,000 icy objects, with the  same composition  as Pluto, that measure 100 km across or more in the Kuiper Belt.

Where Do Comets And Asteriods Come From?

Some asteroids are thought to be debris left over from the formation of the solar system. Others are believed to be fragments from a collision of large asteroids or protoplanets. Comets are known to be remnants of the early solar system but their numbers are very uncertain. Each year several dozen new comets are discovered. Most asteroids orbit the Sun in nearly circular paths lying between Mars and Jupiter. Comets originate in the outer fringes of the solar system, well beyond Pluto. They have extremely elongated elliptical orbits and each trip around the sun takes thousands or millions of years.

Where Do Asteriods Orbit In Our Solar System?

Asteroids are rocky remnants left over from the early formation of our solar system. Most of this ancient space rubble can be found orbiting the sun between Mars and Jupiter within the main asteroid belt. Asteroids range in size from Ceres to bodies that are less than 1 kilometer across. The total mass of all the asteroids combined is less than that of Earth's Moon.

What Are The Requirements For Humans To Survive On Another Planet?

The requirements  for humans to survive on another planet is gravity, air pressure, and a solid crust. What is also good for survival on other planets is proximity to Earth (or nearest terra-formed, inhabited planet), Energy, such as, chemical fuel and minerals, and water.

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