By Betsy Thorpe
“Fascinating is a word I use for the unexpected. In this case I should think interesting would suffice.”Mr. Spock
The Squire of Gothos
When Ethan and his faithful dog Winston meet Rite, he immediately becomes their friend and he soon leads them on An Unexpected Journey Into Space. Guiding Ethan and Winston through the Solar System in a fast moving spaceship, Rite first takes them dangerously close to the sun, where they discover that it is made up of layers of swirling gasses and that its surface looks like boiling tomato soup. After leaving the sun they quickly travel 36 million miles across the Solar System to enter Mercury’s orbit, a planet without a moon. Their next destination is Venus, the only planet in the Solar System that rotates backwards. As they zoom away from Venus, they see a familiar planet hovering in space, after they realize that they are looking at their home planet, Rite tells Ethan and Winston that “Earth is 93 million miles from the Sun”, and that “as far as anyone knows”, “Earth is the only planet capable of supporting life”. As Earth fades away into the distance, the spaceship carrying Ethan and Winston approaches Mars a planet that resembles a red ball. Leaving the orbit of Mars their ride gets very bumpy as they travel through the Asteroid Belt, a section of the Solar System between Mars and Jupiter where thousands of big rocks fly through space. As they approach the end of the Asteroid Belt they see Jupiter, the largest planet in the Solar System as it emerges in the distance. When Ethan wonders how big Jupiter is in relation to Earth, Rite tells him “It would take about 1,000 Earths to fill up the volume of this giant planet.” As they pull away from Jupiter they enter deep space with a course set for Saturn. As they approach Saturn Ethan recognizes the planet by the rings surrounding it. Before they leave Saturn’s orbit, Rite tells Ethan and Winston that it is a windy place and that is the sixth planet from the sun. After arriving at their next destination, the planet Uranus, Rite tells Ethan that they have traveled 2 billion miles from the sun. After breaking the orbit of Uranus,the planet Neptune soon comes into view, and Ethan learns that Neptune has several dark spots, and that one of the spots is as big as the planet Earth. With only one more planet left to see Ethan admits he is getting homesick . When Pluto finally comes into view he is surprised to learn that many scientists on Earth do not consider Pluto a true planet. As the spaceship pulls away from Pluto and speeds back to Earth, Ethan tries to remember everything he had learned about the planets that make up the Solar System.
This delightful and informative book reveals many more fascinating-or as Mr. Spock would say, “interesting” facts about our solar system and delivers an understanding of the planetary systems that share our solar system with Earth. An Unexpected Journey Into Space is an easy to read educational resource, and a recommended tool for students, teachers and parents.
Warren Davis is a radiation therapist who lives in Columbia Tennessee with his wife Silvia and his son Ethan. Mr. Davis has been interested in astronomy since he was a young boy. He wrote An Unexpected Journey Into Space to share that interest with his son.
Published at the Nashville company Published By Westview, An Unexpected Journey Into is Space is available for purchase at publishedbywestview.com