Take a tour of our cosmic neighborhood in pictures. Come on, let's go!
How did it form? The leading theory suggests that a body smashed into Earth approximately 4.5 billion years ago, and the debris from both Earth and the impactor accumulated to form our natural satellite. Let's go back and visit it again!
Mars is much colder than Earth, largely due to its greater distance from the sun. The average temperature hovers around a frosty minus 80 degrees F (minus 60 degrees C). Channels, valleys, and gullies cut into the entire surface of Mars, and suggest that liquid water might have flowed across the planet's surface. Let's go there next!
Asteroids are small, airless rocky objects revolving around the sun, but are too small to be planets. They are also known as planetoids or minor planets. Most asteroids lie in the asteroid belts, but there are others across the solar system.
Asteroids represent the leftovers from the formation of our solar system about 4.6 billion years ago. They are dirty bastards that could rip your spacecraft to shreds in an instant. If you had a spacecraft. You wish you had a spacecraft.
Jupiter also possesses four large moons and many smaller moons. Jupiter has a gaseous composition, referred to as a "gas giant." Some astronomers believe Jupiter may have once possessed the capability to coalesce into a binary star companion of our sun. If only Jupiter had any real ambition. Lazy gas giant.
Uranus, though visible to the naked eye, was long considered a star, until British astronomer William Herschel discovered Uranus accidentally on March 13, 1781. And let's have no more terrible puns on the name of "Uranus."
Also, Neptune was discovered only after astronomers noticed irregular behavior in the orbit of Uranus. And no, you should never use the words "irregular" and "Uranus" in the same sentence.
Pluto used to be classified as a full-fledged planet until the International Astronomical Union (IAU) downgraded it a dwarf planet in 2006 because its small size. Oh, no, they di'int! Oh, yes, they did! Pluto has serious planet envy now. Also, Pluto's orbit tilts 17 degrees from the ecliptic plane.