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Wells A l b e r t W h it m a n & C o mp a ny Mo r to n Grove. I l l i no i s .A T ’ S S O S PE C I A L H W T U T H R P O L ? A A E N B E T A Robert E.
Jim.4.For my brother. Illinois 60053-2723. 6340 Oakton Street. But it’s a pretty good place for people to live. sister-in-law. What’s so special about planet Earth? / Robert E. Morton Grove.albertwhitman. The illustration media are pen and acrylic. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Wells. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means. Distributed by Open Road Distribution. Design by Carol Gildar and Robert E. recording. Earth—Juvenile literature. QB631. including photocopying. and my nephews. Brady and Austin – special people living on a special planet. Title. I. p. All rights reserved. Wells. ISBN 978-0-8075-8815-4 1.com. Wells. Wells. Robert E. . please visit our web site at www. or by any information storage and retrieval system. This book is printed on recycled paper containing 50% post-consumer content. For more information about Albert Whitman & Company. Also by Robert E. Published in 2009 by Albert Whitman & Company. Susan. Why Is Your World Melting? What’s Faster Than a Speeding Cheetah? What’s Older Than a Giant Tortoise? What’s Smaller Than a Pygmy Shrew? PLA N ET EARTH is not the only planet we know of. Wells: Can You Count to a Googol? Did a Dinosaur Drink This Water? How Do You Know What Time It Is? How Do You Lift a Lion? Is a Blue Whale the Biggest Thing There Is? Polar Bear. without permission in writing from the publisher. cm. electronic or mechanical.W446 2009 525—dc 2008056045 Text and illustrations copyright © 2009 by Robert E.
Sometimes wild weather or so cold our fingers and toes feel frozen. Earth’s weather doesn’t always suit us. Suppose you decided you’d like to move to another.Of course. After all. there are 7 other planets to choose from in our solar system. Sometimes it’s too hot. brings hurricanes. . tornadoes. more comfortable. and floods. planet.
These objects include planets. N US W hat would it be like to live on another planet. SU N C MER URY ASTEROID BELT The 8 planets that orbit the sun are Mercury. instead of Earth? If you’re thinking about moving. and meteoroids. Venus. Saturn. or travel around it. you’d want to visit first. . Jupiter. Earth. JUPITER TU N EP N E SATUR N UR A In the center is the sun. comets.VEN US M A RS RT EA H THE SOLAR SYSTEM Everything that orbits the sun is part of the solar system. a huge ball of hot gases. Uranus. With its powerful pull of gravity. and Neptune. asteroids. to see if the planet is right for you. the sun holds all the planets in place as they orbit. Mars. Sizes and distances shown here are not to scale.
you’d visit the planets closest to the sun— Mercury. (427o C. while the DIAMETER: 3.000.K. IN COCO A T P ’S CA RAPID Mercury is the closest planet to the sun. or gases. and Mars. First.032 MILES ORBIT TIME: 88 EARTH-DAYS dark side is bitterly cold. MOONS: NONE Because there’s almost no oxygen. and as Mercury has almost no atmosphere. to protect it.Imagine there was a spacecraft fast enough to give you a quick tour of the planets.). rocky surfaces. even if there were a way to survive in the heat and the cold! .000 MILES 800 F. ROCKET RIDES TODAY’S SPECIAL TOUR O PLAF THE NETS DOGS O . no one could breathe on Mercury. MERCURY the sun side is a sizzling DISTANCE FROM SUN: o 36. Like Earth. they have solid. Venus.
Uh-oh. with droplets of sulfuric acid.000 MILES DIAMETER: 7. As you approach. Get out fast.)! You couldn’t live for a minute here. (482o C. Your gauges show that the atmosphere is poisonous for people to breathe.520 MILES ORBIT TIME: 225 EARTH-DAYS MOONS: NONE It’s mostly carbon dioxide. And the surface temperature is nearly 900o F. VENUS DISTANCE FROM SUN: 67. you can see for yourself.000.We’ll try Venus next. you see it’s covered with clouds. before you’re cooked! . The surface isn’t visible! Is it safe to land? If the spacecraft pilot lowers you through the clouds.
You could have fun jumping around on Mars.221 MILES ORBIT TIME: 687 EARTH-DAYS MOONS: 2 o n d n Mars. the 3rd planet. (-73o C. People could survive on Mars if they lived in a protective shelter.000 MILES DIAMETER: 4. on your way to Mars. But if you like trees. Mars is not for you. nights are -100o F. e c a p s r u o y n o Like Mercury. The gravity is about 1/3 of Earth’s.000. a l n a c u Yo ave to put h l l ’ u o y t u b suit. the 4th planet. Mars has almost no oxygen. and the only known water is frozen at the poles orunder the surface. so you’d be very light. MARS DISTANCE FROM SUN: 142.You’ll pass through the orbit of Earth.). . But Mars’s days are usually below freezing.
It’s s t e n pu bigg a l p s t to er t r h e t geth han all the oth Ear 0 er. Mor 0 3 1 e than could fit inside! Rocketing past the asteroid belt.780. like Earth. planet number 5. . we come to the first of the giant outer planets—Jupiter.846 MILES ORBIT TIME: 12 EARTH-YEARS JUPITER And talk about storms! ed Spot. sin It’s not solid.You can scratch Jupiter off your list of places to live. bigger than R t a e r G t a h T Earth’s diameter.000 MILES DIAMETER: 88. MOONS: MORE THAN 60 DISTANCE FROM SUN: 483. is a giant windstorm aging for 300 years! r n e e b s ’ t a th s h e ip could la c a p s o n t u B nd a d m e s i m r e t ostly of i p u J e c gas.
784. but Saturn’s rings are the most magnificent. SATURN DISTANCE FROM SUN: 886.763 MILES ORBIT TIME: 84 EARTH-YEARS MOONS: 27 SO FAR DISCOVERED ar esu URANUS They’re made up of trillions of pieces of ice— from tiny specks to house-sized chunks. stormy. the ringed planet. .000 MILES DIAMETER: 31.000 MILES DIAMETER: 74. ys. The other outer planets also have rings. xis. t he As igh n ts DISTANCE FROM SUN: 1. You can’t live here. stormy. and made mostly of gas.700. the ima a s t I g in ar y w d n h u i c h it aro spi ns tipped side wa . it would still be a cold. Even if Uranus were tipped back up. gas planet.lt.898 MILES ORBIT TIME: 29 1/2 EARTH-YEARS MOONS: 47 SO FAR DISCOVERED Saturn is cold. Next comes Saturn. and impossible to live on. days and on 42 Uranus are each yea rs lo ng! il ne s i Uranus is the 7th planet.000.
Neptune is certainly not a place people can live.000.000 MILES DIAMETER: 30.). the 8th planet. It’s time to go home— to our very special planet. and therefore very cold. It’s good to be back! .775 MILES ORBIT TIME: 165 EARTH-YEARS MOONS: 13 SO FAR DISCOVERED W hat makes Earth a just-right place for us? It’s neither too hot nor too cold. (-218o C. is farthest from the sun. Earth.795. and windstorms blow across its surface at 1500 miles per hour! NEPTUNE DISTANCE FROM SUN: 2. You can breathe—without a spacesuit! There’s plenty of water to drink.Neptune. Its temperature is -360o F.
No other planet in the solar system is just the right distance from the sun. and even protects us from meteors. harmful rays . . an ideal proportion of oxygen for Earth’s creatures to breathe. .000. with just the right atmosphere to protect and sustain life. DISTANCE FROM SUN: 93. which usually burn up from air friction. .000 MILES DIAMETER: 7. Earth’s marvelous atmosphere filters out most of the sun’s Earth’s temperature is right for us because we are the right distance from our sun—about 93 million miles.926 MILES ORBIT TIME: 365 1/4 DAYS MOONS: 1 EARTH One-fifth of the atmosphere is oxygen.
All living things need water—and no other known planet has as much water as Earth! . m e o s of the sun’s heat. So does ocean water.re e h p g s e a h s t o e s f i m n o t E a e a r s ’ t h m So are called greenhouse gases. e t i n a h b w t e o r s u i e w r l e d h t o m r wa This is called the greenhouse effect. About 70 percent of Earth’s surface is covered with ocean. p a r t y e Th keeping the air near Earth . Fresh water to drink makes Earth special.
Many of those clouds are blown by the wind over land. 3. The water vapor rises and forms clouds. 1. The water from the clouds falls as rain and snow. The sun’s heat evaporates ocean water. life-giving fresh water moves all over the world. Millions of people— creatures as r e h t o and end on sea p e d — l wel life for food. Powered by the sun’s energy. and lakes st which give us water for drinking. 4. The oceans aelsaot store the sun’s heat.Earth’s oceans help life on Earth in different ways. continuing the water cycle. and growing food. . turning it into water vapor— leaving the salt behind. makin land more comfortable. creating rirveearms.s. 2. washing. and ocgeathnecurrents circulate the h to every continent. Much of the water flows back into the oceans and evaporates again.
. motor vehicles. and lakes. All this CO2 increases the greenhouse effect and makes Earth warmer—too warm for some plants and animals to live. areas called AQU I FER S. ships. and power plants put huge amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the air. streams.We have not always taken good care of Earth. can make fish and other animals sick. Industrial waste from factories Toxic from ls a c i m e h c landfills seep into underground water storage pollutes rivers. Sewage and garbage in water Airplanes.
People-powered lawn mowers t Shor ers show use less water.ga n i w o Gr etable veg den gar can saveipgsr. Here are some things you and your family can do. we can help keep Earth healthy. Well-tuned cars with properly inflated tires use less fuel. Energyefficienst light use less electricity.ocery store tr Reusable shopping bags keep plastic bags out of landfills . make no air pollution. put Don’t forget to bring your dog along! . By conserving resources and using energy wisely. iding and w Bicycnloe pr ollution in thalekainirg .
Put a sweater on they absorb pollution from the air. we can keep Earth a very special place . too. Pick up litter even if it’s not yours. instead of turning up the heat. . . If everyone works together. for ALL of us to live! . Plant trees and bushes— Recycle more and use less.Doing these simple things can help.
the most distant planet orbiting our sun. you’d never get to have a birthday party at all—it takes 165 of our Earth years to make just one year there! Our sun is not the only star to have planets orbiting it. But so far. where the days are 24 hours long. and that would be very exciting news. they have discovered that many other stars do have planets orbiting them. the less time it takes. will be just right for us for a long. has a very short year. astronomers may discover an Earth-like planet orbiting a distant star. On Mars. Someday. long time. We call the time it takes Earth to orbit the sun one year. But one thing we do know: we already have a planet that is just right for us. the closest planet. it would be very far away—and therefore very hard to reach. you’d get to have one every 88 days there. it depends on which planet you’re on. On Neptune. We don’t know for sure if we will ever find another Earth. If you like birthdays. none appear to be suitable for our kind of life. . Over the years. Earth. or about every two Earth-years. to their disappointment. Mercury. But even if we did find one.MORE TO THINK ABOUT How long is a year? Well. The farther a planet is from the sun. our very special planet. you’d only have one birthday party every 687 days. If we all work to take care of it. Scientists are searching the skies for planets around other distant stars—especially for planets we could possibly visit. and maybe even live on. farther from the sun than Earth. the longer it takes for it to make one orbit—and the closer it is. it takes 365 1/4 of those 24-hour days to orbit the sun. If you’re on Earth.
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