When I was very young, I was fascinated with the planets, which my sister and I read about in the children’s’ encyclopedias our parents bought. I wondered how such planets existed, what they were like, and both the pictures and reading opened up the imagination. That amazing red storm on Jupiter, far larger than our own planet.
Interestingly, with time passing, like most, I still was fascinated, but spent more time with other past times. Now, we seem to be refocusing on the marvels of space. NASA is returning to the moon, and there are both private interests in bringing people to Mars. Elon Musk? Other entrepreneurs?
Consider the moon. A quarter of a million miles from the Earth, yet it follows a path around our planet as our planet follows a path around the sun. Amazing. What keeps the moon orbiting the Earth? Of course, many of us remember the pail of water discussion, where a swinging pail holds the water (gravity), but the inertia keeps the water in the pail (speed), and that these two forces are in perfect harmony. I remember this, but it only created more questions.
Why is everything spinning? Electrons orbit the nucleus of atoms forever. Moons orbit planets. Planets orbit suns or stars. Galaxies are rotating. Why rotate? And the interaction of forces between all the parts of the universe.
A neighbor once asked us what is at the end of the universe. In other words, if you got to the end of the universe, what is beyond? Of course, we had no answer. And certainly, the day to day activities and necessities of life require our attention. Must pay the bills. Work. Chores. Helping others. Life is full time. But the question was excellent.
Could it be that gravity is not a pulling but a push? Could it be that energy coursing through space places “pressure” on atoms, bringing them together as water rushing down a river creates whirlpools? So, the moon is simply following the trail of energy, swirling around the Earth as the Earth swirls around the Sun, and the Sun swirls in the galaxy, electrons swirling around the nucleus.
Of course, I would not venture to believe I understand it all, but certainly considerations opens questions, and what encourages more young minds than curiosity, interest, and exploration?