Tuesday, December 8, 2009

"Goldilocks and the Three Planets" (Repost from January 16, 2009)

(Image: Venus - ESA, Earth - ESA, Mars - ESA © 2007 MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/ RSSD/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA)

Once upon a time there were three planets that lived in the the Orion Arm of the Milky Way galaxy. The first planet was Venus, the second was Earth, and the third was Mars. As these planets moved on with their own orbital variations a Small Solar System Body or comet named Goldilocks broke free, gravitationally, from the Kuiper Belt.

While on her journey through the inner Solar System and before being thrown out into interstellar space, Goldilocks decided to pass by each of these three planets. Upon her visit by Venus she found that it was much too hot there for her nuclei consisting of loose collections of ice, dust and small rocky particles. Venus was much too close to the sun, her water would never be able to flow freely, it would turn into a gaseous state and would just evaporate into the atmosphere. She also found the atmosphere to be too thick and heavy. She would never be able to live on this planet and help support life. It was like a sauna. It was “Too Hot!” She then moved on to pass by Mars, because of her orbit she would have to come back later to visit Earth. While on her pass by Mars she found that it was too cold there. Once again her water would never be able to flow freely. The atmosphere there was too thin, because Mars has no continental drift. This causes all the particles in the atmosphere to become trapped within the surface of Mars. All of her water would remain in a solid or frozen state. She would never be able to help support life there. It was “Too Cold!” Now it was time to visit Earth. Upon her pass by Earth she found that the temperature was just right and her water was able to flow freely in a liquid state. There was also continental drift there on Earth. This allows particles from the atmosphere that become trapped on the ground to be brought back, once again, to the atmosphere through volcanic activity. The Earths medium sized atmosphere was just right. It allows for perfect temperatures and the ability to support life. It was “Just Right!”

As Goldilocks moved on before being thrown out into interstellar space she hoped that by chance that she might pass close enough to massive Jupiter in hopes of being influenced, gravitationally, on her trajectory. She hoped to be nudged just enough to one day return close enough to Earth and to be pulled into its atmosphere and burn up upon entry and release her nuclei and help support live on a planet that is “Just Right.”