2012-02-27 / Word Jr.

Another lap for the plucky planet (SUN AND EARTH HAVE A CHAT)

BY DIANE K. FISHER NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

“Well, another year’s passed
for you, little blue Earth.
You’ve run one more lap
’ round my blazing hot
Through my merciless winds,
for yet one more year
You’ve kept a firm hold on
your atmosphere.”
“Dear Sun, you’re most generous with all of your praise.
You know it’s a feat to defend
from your blaze.
For you hurl out harsh rays
and electrical dust
That could fry life on Earth. It
would truly combust!
“It’s been quite a workout! It
takes quite a while,
To go five hundred eight-four
millions of miles!
To spin three hundred sixtyfive

times, plus a quarter.
Not to gripe, though. I don’t
want the trip to be shorter!
“For Earth’s yearly lap is just
about right.
Much closer I’d fry and be
blinded by light.
And farther away my whole
ocean would freeze.
I’d have nothing
like fishes, and
people, and
“How convenient
my energy thaws
out your ocean.
But remember I’m all about
nuclear explosion!
My temper is fiery. I’m
stormy. Hotheaded!
I hurl out a wind full of ions
— most dreaded!
“ With electrical charges,

these dust bits are brutal,
Race a million or more miles
per hour, it’s futile
To plant any trees, grow a
frog, or a gnu!
So tell me, small Earth, what
trick do you do?”

“I have an invisible shield! It’s
A bubble of safety, against your
My core’s spinning
metal. It’s electromagnetic. It puts out a force field
that’s quite energetic

“That keeps out your dust. But
there’s yet one more question. Your X- and U-V rays—quite
bad for digestion!
Lucky for me, my atmosphere

Those rays, and lets through
the light that most matters.”
“How clever you are! I would
never have guessed
By your small fragile face
you’re so heartily blessed.”
“ Fortune is mine. I am one
lucky sphere.
Off I go, cheer me on, for
another fine year!”
Listen in on more of this
meeting between Super Star
and the Plucky Planet at

ILLUSTRATION is by Alexander Novati. This article was provided by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

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