oupacademic
oupacademic:

Very Short Fact: On this day in 2003, Mars makes its closest approach to Earth in nearly 60,000 years, passing 34,646,418 miles (55,758,005 km) distant.

The planets and their mutual gravitational pulls are continuously changing configuration. Chaos theory says it is therefore impossible to predict planetary positions more than a few million years ahead. However, it can be shown that the Solar System is sufficiently stable that no planet is likely to collide or be ejected in the next few billion years. We are probably safe for at least 5 billion years, which is when astronomers expect the Sun to swell up into a red giant, whereupon the wanderings of Mars will be the least of the problems faced by any far future Earthlings.

[p. 23, 24, Planets: A Very Short Introduction, by David A. Rothery]
Like the Very Short Introductions on Facebook for more from the series.
NASA Mars landing gif via giphy.com

oupacademic:

Very Short Fact: On this day in 2003, Mars makes its closest approach to Earth in nearly 60,000 years, passing 34,646,418 miles (55,758,005 km) distant.

The planets and their mutual gravitational pulls are continuously changing configuration. Chaos theory says it is therefore impossible to predict planetary positions more than a few million years ahead. However, it can be shown that the Solar System is sufficiently stable that no planet is likely to collide or be ejected in the next few billion years. We are probably safe for at least 5 billion years, which is when astronomers expect the Sun to swell up into a red giant, whereupon the wanderings of Mars will be the least of the problems faced by any far future Earthlings.

[p. 23, 24, Planets: A Very Short Introduction, by David A. Rothery]

Like the Very Short Introductions on Facebook for more from the series.

NASA Mars landing gif via giphy.com

lucreza
At 19, I read a sentence that re-terraformed my head: “The level of matter in the universe has been constant since the Big Bang.”
In all the aeons we have lost nothing, we have gained nothing - not a speck, not a grain, not a breath. The universe is simply a sealed, twisting kaleidoscope that has reordered itself a trillion trillion trillion times over.
Each baby, then, is a unique collision - a cocktail, a remix - of all that has come before: made from molecules of Napoleon and stardust and comets and whale tooth; colloidal mercury and Cleopatra’s breath: and with the same darkness that is between the stars between, and inside, our own atoms.
When you know this, you suddenly see the crowded top deck of the bus, in the rain, as a miracle: this collection of people is by way of a starburst constellation. Families are bright, irregular-shaped nebulae. Finding a person you love is like galaxies colliding. We are all peculiar, unrepeatable, perambulating micro-universes - we have never been before and we will never be again. Oh God, the sheer exuberant, unlikely fact of our existences. The honour of being alive. They will never be able to make you again. Don’t you dare waste a second of it thinking something better will happen when it ends. Don’t you dare.
Caitlin Moran (via blowyourownjob)