• Question: What planet/moon in our solar system fascinates you the most?

    Asked by peter296 on 29 Apr 2020.
    • Photo: Aisling Ryan

      Aisling Ryan answered on 29 Apr 2020: last edited 29 Apr 2020 10:05 am

      I’ll be completely honest with you, I don’t know a whole lot about the solar system! As boring as it sounds my answer would have to be Earth! I think it’s fascinating that our planet has already gone through five mass extinction events and is constantly changing and adapting whilst being home to such diverse forms of life (humans, animals, plants, insects). But perhaps if I knew more about other planets I would find them just as fascinating! Do you know any fascinating facts about our solar system?

    • Photo: James Sullivan

      James Sullivan answered on 29 Apr 2020:

      Ganymede around Jupiter has its own magnetic field – I think that’s interesting.

    • Photo: Mark Kennedy

      Mark Kennedy answered on 29 Apr 2020:

      For planets, it’s probably Venus. It’s our closest neighbour, and yet we know so little about it. This is probably because conditions are so extreme on the planets surface that any probes we have sent there have stopped working very quickly. The most recent lander was all the way back in the 1980s, and the lander only worked for around 1 hour before the extreme temperature and pressure destroyed it!

      Also, because of how extreme it is, humans have had to come up with clever ways of someday colonising it. My favourite is the idea to build a floating city in the part of the atmosphere that is stable (https://edition.cnn.com/2014/12/23/tech/innovation/tomorrow-transformed-venus-blimp-city/index.html).

      Hopefully we’ll begin properly exploring the planet again soon, since it’s so interesting and so close to us!

    • Photo: Marcello Valente

      Marcello Valente answered on 29 Apr 2020:

      Dear Peter296,
      while Mars can be considered a common answer, I think that the facts Mars is relatively near us and that used to host an atmosphere and potentially local bacteria make it really interesting.

    • Photo: Karen Bacon

      Karen Bacon answered on 29 Apr 2020:

      I was always fascinated by Mars as a child and was really blown away when I saw the “ice caps” with a small telescope in my back garden many years ago. I love the legends and myths that surround Mars and also there is a lot of great classic science fiction (War of the Worlds, the John Carter series are my favourites) that were based on Mars. I also loved the story of people thinking that there might be life on Mars because of “canals” that turned out to be an optical illusion and was resolved when better telescopes were developed. I have really enjoyed following the NASA missions to Mars as well – we have learned so much more about this planet and seeing photos of the geological features and landscapes of another planet will always be incredible to me.

    • Photo: Tiffany Slater

      Tiffany Slater answered on 29 Apr 2020:

      Mars. Hands down. I think it is so fascinating that there may be evidence for ancient life on Mars and I cannot wait for the ExoMars rover to launch! I’m a bit saddened that it has been delayed until 2022 though..

    • Photo: Roisin Jones

      Roisin Jones answered on 29 Apr 2020:

      Hi Peter296, cool question! Personally I’m fascinated by Mercury, we know so little about it for a planet that’s relatively close to us in the solar system. We can’t look at it using the Hubble telescope because it’s too close to the sun and the light would be overwhelming! I think it would be fascinating to learn a bit more about it.

    • Photo: Ollie Otter

      Ollie Otter answered on 29 Apr 2020:

      My favourite is Europa!
      It is covered by a large ocean, and although the surface is completely frozen, underneath the ice there is liquid water. Good chance there are alien life forms living in it

    • Photo: Katherine Benson

      Katherine Benson answered on 29 Apr 2020:

      Tough question, but I suppose I have to say earth, since that’s where we spend our time, and I study human genetics!

    • Photo: Simon Spichak

      Simon Spichak answered on 29 Apr 2020:

      Wow some fantastic answers here with the planet Venus and Europa! I’d like to throw our very own moon into this discussion because I find it downright awesome. Not only is it the largest moon relative to the size of its planet, we also don’t exactly know how it’s formed. Also we see this really cool thing called a solar eclipse where the moon blocks out the sun. We’re very fortunate to be living in this time period because the moon is actually moving away from us, a few centimeters every year and soon it will appear to small to fully block out the sun! I would also like to bring up Neptune, Uranus and Jupiter. Saturn gets all the recognition for having these gorgeous looking rings around it – but believe it or not, the other gas giants also have rings! I also want to bring up the part of our solar system that I was obsessed about when I was around 10, the mighty Oort cloud (https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/solar-system/oort-cloud/overview/). This is a gigantic cloud of comets that encircles our solar system and is the likely source of a lot of comets and shooting stars that we might see!

    • Photo: Lea Duran

      Lea Duran answered on 29 Apr 2020:

      As a geoscientist, I’m focusing on what’s happening under our own feet and Earth is so active in so many ways that I think other planets can’t compete 🙂

    • Photo: Laura Finnegan

      Laura Finnegan answered on 29 Apr 2020:

      Probably Jupiter – it has some really cool moons! I remember reading years ago about the ‘big red spot’ on the planet being a huge storm and I was fascinated. It was too big for me to imagine then, and to be honest, it still is now!

    • Photo: Jun Lin

      Jun Lin answered on 29 Apr 2020:

      Definitely saturn!

    • Photo: Aruna Chandrasekar

      Aruna Chandrasekar answered on 29 Apr 2020:

      I do not know that much about other moons, except our own moon. What fascinates me most about our moon is the way it controls our tides, and how it influences our life despite being o far away.

    • Photo: Min Yap

      Min Yap answered on 30 Apr 2020:

      Saturn, just because it looks so different with its rings.

    • Photo: Florence McCarthy

      Florence McCarthy answered on 30 Apr 2020:

      Mars I guess as its the most likely for us to explore next

    • Photo: Hannah Currivan

      Hannah Currivan answered on 30 Apr 2020:

      Enceladus which is a moon of Saturn. Scientists identified the source locations for individual jets spurting ice particles, water vapor and trace organic compounds from the surface of Enceladus.

    • Photo: Michael Nolan

      Michael Nolan answered on 1 May 2020:

      It has to be earth.
      The only planet or moon we know of with life on it, teeming with life. It has also been through cataclysmic events and still manages to promote life.
      Yet we know very little about this.

    • Photo: Aileen Doran

      Aileen Doran answered on 1 May 2020:

      I think I’d have to say Mars. Apart from being used excellently in a lot of different science fiction stories (I would recommend the Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury), geologically mars is impressive. For example;

      1) Mars used to have running water on it. There are some nice pictures taken by NASA that show specific layering patterns in the surface rocks.The types of patterns (known as cross-bedding) happens on earth and is evidence for running water.

      2) They’ve found evidence in mars rocks that suggests the planet could have hosted life (maybe just bacteria – but still life!).

      So, who knows, maybe mars used to look just like earth!

    • Photo: Achim Schmalenberger

      Achim Schmalenberger answered on 4 May 2020:

      Europa, with its icecaps it could support life underneath it.

    • Photo: Francesco Floris

      Francesco Floris answered on 5 May 2020:

      Planet Saturn, moon Io but the most fascinating object is the Sun! “Our” Star!

    • Photo: Lucy Blennerhassett

      Lucy Blennerhassett answered on 6 May 2020:

      Cool question peter296! Venus fascinates me the most because of its super thick atmosphere! It has what is called a ‘runaway greenhouse effect’ where so much carbon dioxide has accumulated in its atmosphere that its average surface temperature is about 462 degrees celsius! This just about hot enough to melt lead. It is an interesting example of the powerful force of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere….something that society has become more familiar with now due to current climate change on Earth.