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Space without the space
July 2, 2014 6:32 AM   Subscribe

The solar system's solid surfaces stitched together. If you want some more detailed imagery, you can always browse around NASA's planetary photojournal archive.
posted by curious nu (17 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Huh! I'd forgotten that Venus is almost as big as Earth (0.902 in terms of surface area, according to Wikipedia). And Mars has only 0.284 of the surface area of the Earth. Somehow I'd gotten it reversed—I thought that Venus was a piddly marble, like Mercury, and that Mars was the near-Earth-size planet.

Also, he forgot to draw Neil deGrasse Tyson's Spaceship of the Imagination plunging into the oceans of Titan and being devoured by methane-based leviathans.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 6:38 AM on July 2


The inclusion of the human skin plate is a bit on the creepy side.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 6:52 AM on July 2 [4 favorites]


This is a great way to illustrate a couple of facts:

1) Our solar system is full of worlds!

2) Jupiter and the gas giants don't count because there's no "there" there.
posted by General Tonic at 6:55 AM on July 2


2) Jupiter and the gas giants don't count because there's no "there" there.

In a couple Arthur C. Clarke books he suggested there might be a diamond core to the gas giants, due to the pressure. I don't know what the current thinking is on that but it sure as hell would be cool.

Not that we'd ever be able to access it or even see it, unless we got a giant drinking straw and...
posted by bondcliff at 6:58 AM on July 2


In a couple Arthur C. Clarke books he suggested there might be a diamond core to the gas giants, due to the pressure.

An enormous crystalline interior might help to explain Saturn's weird hexagon, though diamonds aren't that shape.

(In any case, Saturn does indeed have a solid centre, which Wikipedia says scientists estimate is 25,000km in diameter -- twice that of Earth.)
posted by Sys Rq at 7:25 AM on July 2


Pluto's back, yay!
posted by uraniumwilly at 7:36 AM on July 2 [2 favorites]


Keep in mind the core of Saturn is about 35,000 km beneath the upper cloud layers. I think the hexagon on Saturn is just a standing sine wave in the atmosphere in polar coordinates. I saw a nice projection of this once, but can't seem to find the link.

Which brings me to a question about the xkcd figure: what projection system is he using, and how does that affect the apparent sizes of the planetary surfaces? I was 90% sure a comment on that was going to be the secret scroll-over message.
posted by physicsmatt at 7:37 AM on July 2


Pluto's back, yay!

I don't think anyone ever voted it out of the solar system or declared it not to be a solid. They just decided it's not a planet (like Haumea et al. also in the diagram).
posted by yoink at 8:07 AM on July 2


Actually we totally voted Pluto out of the Solar System. New Horizons is just serving the papers.
posted by physicsmatt at 8:12 AM on July 2 [4 favorites]


(Slight aside about Saturn's hexagon, following up physicsmatt's comment above: it's a function of the gradient in wind speeds, as recreated in tabletop simulations. No solid surface needed or implied.)
posted by RedOrGreen at 8:14 AM on July 2 [1 favorite]


I'd forgotten that Venus is almost as big as Earth . . . And Mars has only 0.284 of the surface area of the Earth. . . . I thought that Venus was a piddly marble, like Mercury, and that Mars was the near-Earth-size planet.

posted by escape from the potato planet



Every once in a while, you need to drop the peeler, dig yourself out of the deep rut you're in, and get off your own planet for a change; travel, see the world solar system. It'll really open up your eyes.
 
posted by Herodios at 8:50 AM on July 2


This is a great way to illustrate a couple of three facts:

1) Our solar system is full of worlds!

2) Jupiter and the gas giants don't count because there's no "there" there


c. Now we know where MH370 went. It's on Venus.
 
posted by Herodios at 8:58 AM on July 2 [1 favorite]


> Pluto's back, yay!

Yah, but it's off at the kid's table, along with Eris, Haumea, and the other dwarf planets.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:00 AM on July 2


Which brings me to a question about the xkcd figure: what projection system is he using, and how does that affect the apparent sizes of the planetary surfaces? I was 90% sure a comment on that was going to be the secret scroll-over message.

I don't think he needs a projection. I assumed he is just taking the surface area and then representing that by a squiggly thing with the same enclosed area. (I also assume the roughly drawn Earth continents are just there to say 'This is Earth')
posted by vacapinta at 9:05 AM on July 2


I'd love a 3-D version of this. It'd be great to see what the mountains of Mars and the asteroids look like in context of Earth.
posted by tavella at 9:09 AM on July 2 [1 favorite]


Holy cow, the Earth has almost a quarter of the total solid (well, liquid-covered solid) surface area of the whole solar system!
posted by Sleeper at 2:11 AM on July 3


It'd be great to see what the mountains of Mars and the asteroids look like in context of Earth.

For Mars mountains, Scroll down to Figures 4 and 5.
posted by vacapinta at 3:45 AM on July 3 [1 favorite]


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