Jupiter is the Godfather of the planets. Its immense size means it dominates the solar system, using its power both good and bad.
Orbit-rotation characteristics of the planet Mercury
Very soon after birth it marauded through the solar system, spiralling ever closer to the sun. For many young worlds — it spelled disaster — but by doing so it may have created the conditions that allowed our planet to form. Saturn is the jewel of the solar system, the most seductive of all the planets. Recent discoveries have revealed it might have started life as an ugly duckling — only gaining its rings around a hundred million years ago.
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And that its true beauty might lie hidden within them — where the ice moon Enceladus might harbour a home for life. Pale and almost featureless today it might once have had active storm systems like its neighbours Saturn and Neptune.
The ice giant Neptune is the most distant planet in the solar system. Visit The Planets homepage to watch previous episodes from the series on iPlayer. How The Planets team brought the worlds of the Solar System to life. Home Episodes Clips One Family.
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Earlier glimpses suggest that the planet is far from the inert lump of rock that scientists once imagined. Its grainy close-ups of a heavily cratered landscape endured in textbooks for the next 30 years. Over the one—year mission, MESSENGER will also measure changes in Mercury's tenuous atmosphere of hydrogen, helium and metal ions, information that might reveal how the thin atmosphere is replenished as ions escape into space.
Beneath the surface, Mercury presents a puzzle in the form of an oversized iron core, three-quarters the size of the planet.
This is utterly different from other rocky planets, whose cores are small relative to their mantles. A long-standing theory proposes that a massive collision with another rocky body blasted the bulk of Mercury's mantle away, but an alternative model blames the loss on a possible flare-up of the Sun very early in the Solar System's history, which could have vaporized the planet's outer layers.
Hidden Figures, the motion picture, takes many liberties with history. More than three years of the Mercury program are compressed into a few months in Scenes are invented to heighten the drama, like attributing to Johnson the insight that the smaller Redstone rocket used for suborbital flights could not put the capsule in orbit—as if that was not already obvious to the NASA engineers from the outset. And in the movie, Glenn phones Langley from the launch pad to have the calculations done on an emergency basis, Mercury Control at the Cape is moved to Langley so that the actress who plays Johnson, Taraji P.
Mercury (planet) - Wikipedia
In fact, his mission was always three orbits, and while the warning light had flight controllers quite worried, it was not aired publicly in a way that anyone watching TV understood what was going on. I could go on about the factual inaccuracies, which are many, but how bothersome that is depends on how much one thinks dramatic license is justified to make a good movie. And it is a good movie, well-acted and inspirational. I enjoyed it even as I was exasperated by its many deviations from history, some of which are simply unnecessary. As for Katherine Johnson, she fortunately is still with us today at age She received late-life recognition even before Hidden Figures.
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