The Great Planet Adventures – KIDS Version (fisheye)
Articles Blog

The Great Planet Adventures – KIDS Version (fisheye)

August 30, 2019


Today we’re going to explore
all of the planets in our solar system and some other places as well. We’ll travel into the future – to a time when astronauts live
throughout the solar system. On each world,
we’ll see what the weather is like, what we would wear,
where we would live, and what we would do to have fun. Leaving Earth will make us a lot stronger. Feel how the Earth is holding you down right now. Your muscles have to push
really hard just to stand up. Where we’re going,
the gravity pull is much less and astronauts can jump really, really high. We’ll start at the International Space Station
orbiting the Earth with astronauts on board right now. It’s the best place to begin
our Great Planet Adventures. This is the International Space Station. Six astronauts live in this big house
orbiting the Earth. Their favorite pastime is watching the Earth below. Here we use giant solar panels
to make electricity directly from sunlight. But, we still bring food and supplies from Earth. Why don’t we start our adventure on Mercury. It’s the closest planet to the Sun
so we’ll have lots of energy. The sun is a giant nuclear furnace. It powers the solar system and spews
streams of dangerous particles into space On Mercury we must hide
inside a crater near the North Pole, shielded from the sun’s dangerous rays. Welcome to Tolkien Crater
near the North Pole of Mercury. On top of this rebound peak, we’ve built a solar energy farm
to power our colony and a solar observatory for
monitoring active regions on the Sun. In a gravity field less than half of Earth’s, we use zip lines
to move from place to place and even down to the ice mining stations
on the crater floor. Supplies and ice travel along
these zip lines in closed containers. We strap our space suits under zip boards
and ride behind the cargo. Zip boards shield us from solar radiation as we move into sunlight,
whenever the Sun peeks above the crater rim. Looking down,
we can see our habitat and greenhouses. These zip lines connect our habitat
to our solar energy farm above and to the ice miners far below. Ziplining in Tolkien Crater
is our favorite low-gravity off-world thrill. Ziplining on Mercury is lots of fun, but we’re still really close to the hot Sun. How about moving outward
to the next planet Venus? It’s about the same size as Earth. The thick clouds of Venus,
however, absorb heat, making the surface hot enough to melt lead. We’ll have to float in the cooler
cloud banks just to survive. On Venus, we live in a giant ocean liner, floating like a dirigible
in the planet’s atmosphere. The gases that sustain life are lighter
than those in the lower atmosphere. For this reason, our ship can ride
far above the planet’s scorched surface. The gravity tug in our habitat
is almost as strong as Earth’s. A tall center shaft carries experiments
and sensors toward the planet’s surface. Like Earth scientists
exploring the ocean floor, we use a high-pressure submersible
to visit the surface of Venus. The valleys and volcanoes here
look strangely familiar, but heat and pressure make this
a very alien and dangerous world. Once we dip below the thick cloud layers, we can see the erupting volcano Ma’at Mons. It reminds us of a seamount on Earth, except in this off-world adventure we have substituted a cold ocean floor for a raging inferno. Wow…that’s one scary volcano. I think I’m ready for a calmer place. How about the Moon’s South Pole? With no air, it’s very quiet there. Welcome to the perpetual twilight
of Shackleton Crater. The Sun peeks above the crater rim
and circles the horizon each month. Our monster truck is much more like
a modern Earth truck than the Apollo rover. The steep torturous terrain
of Shackleton Crater requires a much tougher vehicle. Those crater walls drop over 4 kilometers
to the cold crater floor. Eighty people live in our lunar colony, built with tubes and inflatable rings
transported from Earth. Robotic ice miners like this descend all the way to the crater floor. We melt the ice they collect
for water to drink and separate it into oxygen and hydrogen
for rocket fuel. Our greatest gravity thrill is driving a monster truck
along these steep crater walls – slipping and sliding in the lunar dust, while trying not to tumble into the crater. No steep mountain road on Earth can compare with this
breathtaking low-g experience. The red planet Mars
is a favorite with kids and astronauts. Compared to Earth, it’s a cold desert with
volcanic mountains and deep canyons. Let’s explore a canyon that would stretch
across the whole United States. It’s called the Valles Marineris
and our outpost is nearby. Our habitat has living quarters,
plus a greenhouse for our fresh food and a command center where we work. Our outpost lies near Ophir Chasma, on the north rim of the Valles Marineris, the largest canyon in the solar system. Today we will rappel
into this great canyon. Although we’re near the equator of Mars,
it’s always cold compared with Earth. So we travel to the canyon rim
in a warm pressurized rover. The sky is beautiful here, but we can’t breathe the planet’s
thin carbon dioxide atmosphere. Scientists back at our outpost, monitor our video and the conditions
inside our pressurized rover. It’s possible that water once flowed
in the Valles Marineris, much like the Colorado River flows
through the Grand Canyon on the Earth today. Rappelling into Earth’s Grand Canyon
cannot compare to this off-world adventure, where we weigh much less
and our canyon is over 4 times deeper. How about visiting an asteroid? Most asteroids are in a belt
between Mars and Jupiter. However, this asteroid, called Eros, comes close to Earth.
Let’s check it out … Here we’ll be very very light
and can jump very very high. Because we’re in orbit, falling around Eros,
we’re weightless. From Eros, we can extract iron, nickel, and titanium for construction, water and oxygen for our survival, and hydrogen and oxygen
to use as rocket fuel. There’s almost no gravity pull
on this tiny asteroid. Our challenge is crawling
or should I say clawing, grasping, and clinging to this giant rock. With just a jump or a push, we can launch ourselves
off this flying mountain. That’s why we wear a tether,
like a bungee jumper, so we can’t get far
without being pulled back to Eros. When the day’s mining is done, this is our favorite low gravity thrill – to jump off an asteroid
and then fall back. Jupiter is beautiful,
but we can’t land here. Know why?
It’s simple … there’s not any land. This is a gas giant and we’d just sink
deeper and deeper into the clouds. But Jupiter has lots of moons
we can land on. How about Europa – one of Jupiter’s largest moons
with an ocean below its icy surface. This is a place where
we might even find life. Welcome to Clark Colony. Our habitat is a maze of igloos
in the low-lying Tyre Impact Basin – on the side of Europa facing away
from Jupiter’s deadly radiation. Here we’re drilling through kilometers of ice
to reach Europa’s subsurface ocean. We hope to collect a water sample
that we can test for the presence of alien life. For us, exploring means spelunking
in these spectacular ice caves, carved by fracture lines in Europa’s crust. Ice tunnels in Earth’s Arctic
cannot compare to the glistening beauty
of these majestic caverns of ice. Aren’t Saturn’s shimmering rings beautiful? Did you know that they’re not solid? – just a whole lot of tiny particles
going around Saturn in a thin disk. They’re mostly dirty chunks of ice, each with its own orbit
around the giant planet. Saturn has one really big moon,
called Titan. Titan has air almost like Earth’s
and oceans too, but they’re made of liquid natural gas. It’s too cold out here for liquid water. On Titan, the chemistry and temperature
are very different from Earth. But the terrain surrounding
our base on Lake Ligeia, reminds us of coastlines back on Earth. This lake of liquid methane is larger than Lake Superior
and lies near Titan’s north pole. The low gravity and thick atmosphere
make Titan a glider’s dream. Uranus is a much calmer giant planet
than Jupiter or Saturn. We can even fly a plane
through its clouds and scoop up gases
that we can use for fuel. We’re a long way from the Sun and the temperature is even colder
than the other worlds we have visited. We need all the fuel we can get. Energy is critical for us to survive
this far from the Sun. We depend on a ram-scoop to collect Helium 3
in Uranus’s upper atmosphere. Helium 3 is the ideal fuel
for our nuclear fusion reactors. Using thrusters mounted around the ship, we continually alter
the orbit of our ram-scoop to collect more gas and to push upward
against the planet’s gravity pull. In our small space planes, we’ve invented a sport we call skimming. The planet’s atmosphere is perfect
for our aerial acrobatics. Transports dock at the ram-scoop and then carry the Helium 3 we collect to our outpost on Miranda, closest of the major moons of Uranus. On this low-gravity moon, cliff diving is fantastic. The drop is long and incredibly slow. Without any wind, we can count on a perfect vertical fall
along the cliff face every time. This is the ultimate
low-g off-world thrill! Neptune is the last planet
in the solar system. On its moon Triton, huge erupting geysers
spew out hot water. Let’s try to dodge a geyser’s plume. Our Geyser Observatory lies near the Mahilani Plume in Triton’s southern region
of perpetual twilight. These geysers contain nitrogen gas, water ice and other compounds
needed for life. Jet packing around and through
one of Triton’s geysers is fantastic. Unlike much of the solar system, Triton is always changing as geysers create new features
for us to explore. Jet-packing on a low-gravity moon
around the solar system’s last planet is about as exciting and off-world
as you can get. Pluto’s a favorite place to visit. It’s always winter here. Ice skating, snow skiing, you name it: all winter sports are great on Pluto. Welcome to Pluto. You’ve arrived on Pluto just in time to watch the atmosphere snow out as Pluto moves farther from the Sun. With all of this snow,
we’ve created a winter sports paradise. Snowmobilers can get some serious air
off these jumps in Pluto’s low gravity. Whether your sport is snowmobiling
or rocket powered skiing, the long jumps and gentle glides
back to the ground are incredible. The key is firing your jetpack
at the right time and we’ve had lots of practice. Out here we like the cold, and enjoy the most extreme
of all winter sports! What a great adventure we’ve had. We’ve flown through the hot clouds
of Venus in a special submarine. Later we learned how to skim
through the cold clouds of Uranus. We ziplined in a crater on Mercury and then rapelled into
the great canyon of Mars. We bungie jumped off an asteroid and then explored a frozen ice cave. We know that when we leave Earth, we’ll do all of these things – setting new records for
how high we can jump, how far we can fall
and how much fun we can have, just playing on the different worlds. Someday, somehow, we will go into space and have adventures just like these.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *