Goldilocks

Yes, my kids are learning space science and fairy tales at the same time.  Sound odd?  To me, at least this once, they are the *perfect* blend.

(image from Amazon)

Hunh?  We’re reading the book The Birth of the Earth by Jacqui Bailey and Matthew Lilly, which includes a description of how the Earth is in the perfect orbit around the sun to have liquid water; any hotter, and our water would all boil off, and any colder and Earth would be a frozen ball of ice. 

Nope, huffing and puffing is a different story... (Freedigitalimages.com)

At bedtime tonight, I told my girls the story of Goldilocks.  I know I have read it to them before, (probably the Brett version, since I love the art,) but refreshing their memories is never a bad thing, and I even got to skew it into an object lesson on love being more important than objects, so I was doubly happy.  (Mama tucked an upset Baby Bear into bed, and then he fell asleep smelling the spices she was adding to a new pot of oatmeal, as well as to the sounds of Papa tapping his chair back together.)


What the heck has one got to do with the other?  I asked Big D what the temperature (if one is going for liquid water) is like on Venus:  “too hot”, then I asked Beara what it is like on Mars:  “too cold.”  Then I asked them what it is like here on Earth (the plow berm blocking our drive not withstanding), and they answered me in concert “juuuust right!”

The clincher that is making Siggi the Science Geek squeal with happy interdisciplinary bliss tonight?  The narrow band around any given sun where water will stay in a (largely) liquid state is called ‘The Goldilocks Zone.’  >:)

ETA: this picture Big D made of the Three Bears, their chairs, and their oatmeal, as seen before they left on their walk. 

Advertisements
This entry was posted in daily round, language arts, science, space science. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Goldilocks

  1. Dad says:

    A “hi!” from the Dad in this team. =)

    Just poking around (because being a science geek myself, and listening to S. and the kids talking about Goldilocks zones got me curious), I decided to check on the actual distances of the Goldilocks zone in out solar system. Seems it extends from 0.72 AU through 3.0 AU. That actually puts Venus riiiight on the inside edge – a maybe. But it puts Mars solidly inside the zone. So why are these planets so, like, ugly for us to actually live on?

    Goldilocks is a “maybe” system. It’s based on a roughly Earth-size planet producing roughly Earth like environments. Mars is smaller than Earth, and farther out. There’s strong evidence that it once had liquid water now, and some evidence it might have had bacterial life. So it probably once upon a time had atmosphere. What happened? Don’t know, for sure. But among other issues, Mars being smaller has less gravity to hold atmosphere, and less mass to retain an internal heating system. Some people suppose that a good chunk of Mars’s old atmosphere is frozen on the planet.

    Venus is another story, greenhouse gases gone wild. Venus has too *much* atmosphere. Surface pressure is about 90 times that of Earth’s. Even so, it is possible that some Earth organisms could survive there – if the planet has enough hydrogen left to support that sort of colonization (most of Venus’s hydrogen seems to have been blasted away by solar winds, making the old Sagan style terraforming impractical). No magnetosphere also makes life there difficult at best due to radiation.

    Of course, the Goldilocks zone is not the only predictor of life. It’s just a way to place an educated guess for one sort of place where life might come into being. In our own solar system, one of the places scientists consider most likely to have life is not Venus or Mars, but Europa. There, we see indications of a frozen cap but a liquid ocean underneath, possibly heated by continuous flexing of the planet by tidal forces from Jupiter as the moon changes distance from the planet through its orbital cycle. Heat, water, and quite possibly all the necessary elements for life. Perhaps some day we’ll find out for sure.

    • Siggi says:

      And this, ladies and gentleman, is why I married the guy: we can geek out on astrophysics, we can geek out on Anglo-Saxon textile construction, and, well, we can geek out on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

      Thanks for the in-depth version, Daddyman! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s