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Dr. Sally Ride was once assigned to the scientific team that designed the remote mechanical arm, which is used by shuttle crews to deploy and retrieve satellites.
During an eclipse of the sun in 1868, spectral lines were located that were attributed to an unknown element that was called "helium," from the Greek word for "sun." Thirty years later, helium was discovered on Earth.
During the time of Christopher Columbus, comets were thought to be burning vapors arisen from some worldly swamp beyond the horizon.
Earth gets hit every week by small rocky asteroids the size of a table. Fortunately, these outer-space collisions do not pack the energy to cause appreciable damage.
Earth is estimated to be 4.5 billion years old. It travels through space at 660,000 miles per hour.
Earth is putting on weight day by day as meteors and microscopic space dust falls from space.
Earth orbits the sun at 18.5 miles a second.
The Sun is colossal. It contains 99.8 percent of the total mass of the solar system. More than one million Earths would be required to match its volume.
The sun is nearly 600 times bigger than all the planets combined.
The current demand for meteorites is so great that meteor hunters can command $1,000 per pound from eager buyers. Some meteor hunters have become millionaires from the sales of their findings.
The sun is so far from Neptune--2,793,000,000 miles--that from there it would appear to be no more than a very bright star.
The dark spots on the moon that create the benevolent "man in the moon" image are actually basins filled 3 to 8 kilometers deep with basalt, a dense mineral, which causes immense gravitation variations.
Jupiter is so big and has such a large atmosphere that many astronomers think it almost became a star.
The Sun isn't round. It is flattened on the top and the bottom.
The dense globules of gas from which stars are born are much larger than the stars they will form. In the Orion nebula, globules have been detected which are 500 times larger than the solar system.
Jupiter is the largest planet, and it has the shortest day. Although Jupiter has a circumference of 280,000 miles, compared with Earth's 25,000, Jupiter manages to make one turn in 9 hours and 55 minutes.
The Sun produces more energy every minute than all the energy used on Earth in a whole year.
The diameter of the star Betelgeuse is more than a quarter the size of our entire solar system.
Jupiter is the planet with the shortest day: slightly under 10 hours. However, its years are 12 times as long as ours.
The Sun provides our planet with 126,000,000,000,000 horsepower of energy every day. This means that 54,000 horsepower is delivered to every man, woman, and child on Earth in each 24-hour period.
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