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Kids' Wonderland

Our Fabulous Solar System, Part 1 of 2

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“Did you know our great solar system was formed 4.6 billion years ago from a very large cloud of dust and gas called a nebula?” There are eight planets orbiting the Sun, including Earth. We will introduce them one by one, in the order of their distance to the Sun. Mercury. The first planet from the Sun, is also the smallest planet in the solar system. “Orbiting the Sun in just 88 days, I also have the most elliptical orbit of any planet.” “You would think I’m the hottest planet because I’m closest to the Sun, right? Not quite. Do you know who is?” “Planet Venus is my name, for being the brightest is my fame! I'm also known as the Earth's twin sis. To the Earth, as I am close, you can see me without a telescope! My orbit is most circular.” The next is Venus’s twin sister, Earth. “I am the third rock from the Sun. My atmosphere is totally suitable for life, made of mostly nitrogen and oxygen. It takes me 365 days to make it around the Sun.” Thank you, Earth, for sustaining all life here. You are indeed special. “Hey guys. I am Mars. I am considered the last of the ‘terrestrial planets,’ or those made entirely of rock. My iconic red color comes from rusty rocks and dust. I have two ice caps of frozen water. I even have seasons similar to Earth, because my axis is tilted 25 degrees. It takes me 687 Earth days to make it around the Sun. I have two small moon friends hanging around me, named Phobos and Deimos. What many of you don’t know is that a long time ago, there were humanoids living on my surface, and had developed civilizations. You would call them Martians. In fact, even today some Martians are still living underground here.” Supreme Master Ching Hai once revealed this secret in a conference in Thailand in 2009. “Long ago, Mars and Venus were once a lot like our planet – they had water, life, and people similar to us. But the inhabitants of Mars and Venus destroyed their respective planetary homes because they raised too much livestock, and the gases released triggered an irreversible greenhouse gas effect. Scientists thus called it ‘runaway global warming,’ and say this is what the future of Earth might be like. So let’s not end up like either Mars or Venus, our neighboring planets. Also, once we stop the killing, then we will generate a more loving, kind, and inviting atmosphere for other noble beings in the galaxy to perhaps join us or be in contact with us. That’s right.”
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