Notes on Gas Planets in our Solar System

When we hear the term Gas Giants, our minds race directly to several planets located within our Solar System, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. These planets share several defining characteristics that allow them to be lumped together into the same category. In particular, it is the high percentage of helium and hydrogen within their over-all composition that places them apart from other more terrestrial solar bodies. However, the term Gas Giant is a bit misleading in that it tells us very little about the actual composition of these unique worlds.Gas giants are composed of a high percentage of solid material. Due to the extreme pressure that exists within the core of a gas giant, hydrogen may be converted into a metallic solid or liquid form. Frequently, there are other materials interspersed within this solid matrix as well. Although all gas giants contain high amounts of hydrogen and helium within their overall…

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Mae C. Jemison: When Art and Science Combine

By Emily ZubritskyCan you be a dancer, an astronaut, a doctor, and a professor? Yes. But you'll need the tenacity and intellect of Mae C. Jemison, whose belief is that the arts and sciences should be taught together and are not at all separate.Jemison made history on September 12, 1992, when she became the first African-American woman to travel into space aboard the Endeavour on mission STS47. She didn't mean to become a role model but quickly became one to girls, and in particular girls of color, everywhere.And what is it that made Jemison so successful? A supportive family, a drive to learn, and a balance of art and science. Jemison was born in Alabama but raised on the South Side of Chicago. Since age 11, she was an avid dancer, practicing many different types, such as African dancing, ballet, jazz, modern, and Japanese dance. While attending Morgan Park High School in Chicago,…

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Super Planet Crash – The Ultimate Space Game

Have you ever wondered how different masses in space interact with each other gravitationally and how stable solar systems form? Then you will want to check out the game Super Planet Crash.Super Planet Crash is a planetary-gravity game that originated from an open-source program used by astronomers to detect planets outside of our Solar System. The game is the work of Greg Laughlin Stefano Meschairi at UC Santa Cruz.This fun and addictive game entice users to create planetary systems utilizing several different astronomical bodies, including Earth-like planets, Super-Earths, Ice Giants, Giant Planets, Brown Dwarfs, and Dwarf Stars. How To Play Super Planet Crash The game starts with a single Earth-like planet orbiting a central parent star. The challenge is for players to create a solar system by adding additional masses within a distance of 2 Astronomic Units from the parent star (1 AU is the distance between the Earth and the Sun).The…

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Interview with Shawna Pandya

Shawna Pandya is a practicing surgeon, motivational speaker, citizen-scientist astronaut, aquanaut-to-be. Superwoman maybe? Well, she is one of the most intelligent, motivated, goal-achieving people 'I've had the pleasure to meet. Last summer, I spoke with Dr. Padya about her experience in a pseudo-mars environment, a career in the space industry, and how she handles a life pursuing her dreams.Dr. Pandya holds an Honors Neuroscience BSc, an MD from the University of Alberta and an MSc from the International Space University in Illkirch-Graffenstaden, France. Dr. Pandya also attended Singularity University, an international learning community geared towards scientific progress and "exponential" technologies. During her attendance at Singularity University, she co-founded CiviGuard, a real-time, disaster relief, and emergency response platform.Currently, Dr. Pandya is a citizen-scientist astronaut candidate with the Polar Suborbital Science of the Upper Mesosphere (PoSSUM) project. The PoSSUM program is an international program dedicated to the study of the upper atmosphere. The…

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3 Reasons Why People Still Believe the Archaic Flat Earth Theory

I must say that I am fascinated by this growing "anti-flat earther" movement online in response to flat-earthers and other fringe conspiracy theories. The people within this trend are adamant about proving that the Earth is a globe. I second their motion. However, how they go about the business of addressing this issue leaves much to be desired.They usually come from a logical point of view, which is excellent for most assertions regarding our world's nature, but it has inherent flaws and doesn't acknowledge the real issue at hand with flat earthers.If empirical evidence is all that was needed to whisk away the pesky idea, then it wouldn't exist, but yet it persists. Our knights in shining armor are heavily armed, but maybe a little too armed. The dynamic between flat earthers and anti-flat earthers is a mirror image of most political conflicts in our times.In this scenario, one is correct,…

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