Earth is the third planet from the Sun. It is the only planet that we know has life. Thousands of satellites orbit Earth; these are used for navigation, communications, tracking weather and natural disasters, and many other purposes. Did you know the UK is a world leader in building spacecraft? And that we will soon be launching spacecraft from UK spaceports?
The next Mars rover to look out for is the Franklin Rover – the first ever designed with the capability to detect alien life! Named after the scientist Rosalind Franklin and partly built in the UK, it is due to be launched in 2020 . Could Franklin discover life on Mars?
Mars used to have large oceans of liquid water
Helen Sharman blasted off in May 1991 to become Britains first astronaut and the first European woman in space. She visited the Russian space station, Mir, spending eight days orbiting Earth. Today Helen is Operations Manager for the Chemistry Department at Imperial College London, and Patron of the Spacelink Learning Foundation.
Our Sun is
The Sun is our nearest star. It is by far the largest object in the solar system, containing over 99% of the total mass.
The solar system started as a cloud of dust and gas which was drawn together by gravity. At the centre of this dense cloud, the Sun formed, its powerful gravity crushing its gases to release light. The remaining parts of the cloud circled the Sun in a great disk before coming together to form planets, dwarf planets, asteroids, comets, and the other objects of our solar system. All our planets – even giant Jupiter – are tiny dust-bunnies compared to the mighty Sun.