Last week while writing about cells for my book – the moon underground guide to human cells and how they work – I jotted down roughly what sections the next part would contain and realised that I’d finally outlined the whole thing. Here is the contents page:
Currently I am on section 7.8 – Making More Mitochondria. Much of the book has been written several times so far, so it’s not remotely close to being done, but some sort of progress is being made.
Part 1: Atoms and Energy is the part that’s been rewritten the most – because it is the first part and because it is the hardest area to understand and describe. When I was rewriting about bonds recently, and puzzling over molecular vibration, I found this excellent educational video from the 1960s:
Now we’re beyond the planetary solar system and into something else entirely, what is known as trans-Neptunian space, that is anything that is further away than Neptune on average. The main thing of this part of the solar system is the Kuiper Belt, which is a bunch of junk created during the formation of the solar system that Neptune has apparently swept into a neat big doughnut. Some of the objects from the Kuiper Belt and beyond have crazy orbits so listing the miles things are after another thing is even stupider than it was for the planets.
843 million miles after Triton is:
Orcus can be called the anti-Pluto. This is because its orbit is like Pluto’s in a mirror and it also has a cosy moon like Pluto does. Orcus is icy and the ice is in crystals which are probably from past ice volcanoes. Currently it is hard to know very much about the objects in this part of the solar system because they are so far away and no vehicle has yet had a look at them up close (the hubble pictures of these things are just bunches of pixels) and so it is also hard to know whether these things are round enough to even be looking at at all. Orcus probably is though, it’s nice.
Back again. Last time we were with big fat Saturn with all the moons. This time we’re going to finish off the proper planets and then we can be nearly done with all this. The proper planets do not include Pluto. It genuinely isn’t really a proper planet 🙁
765 million miles after Iapetus is:
Uranus (the planet with the name) is sometimes called an ice giant, along with Neptune, because it is full up of different ices and it has the coldest atmospheric temperature of the planets at -224.2°C. However, because it is massive, the middle is a hot sea of water, ammonia and methane and possibly because it is crazy pressurised the methane might break up into carbon that turns into diamonds that sink and melt and form a bottom ocean of liquid diamond with diamond-bergs floating on it. Uranus has a bunch of rings but it’s not Saturn so who cares.