1.How was the Earth created, and when?
2.What is a star?
3.Do you think that there's life on other planets besides Earth?
4.What purpose does the Moon serve?

1.How was the Earth created, and when?
The evidence suggests that the 
Earth formed as part of the solar system about 4.5 billion years
ago. The Universe acts as a giant recyling system. When old stars blow
up or shed part of their matter gravity gradually pulls this material
together to form huge clouds of primarily Hydrogen but also all the
other elements we have on Earth. Slowly, because of gravity, this
material starts collapsing in on itself and begins rotating. Most of the
material fell to the center (99%)  to form our sun. The rest of the
material, again, through gravity was attracted together and formed the
planets. The recyling process created another star.

2.What is a star?
Our sun is of course a star. We see strong indications that 
when the solar system was forming, 99% of
the material (mainly Hydrogen) fell to the center -because of gravity.
As the material collapsed on itself the atoms at the center of the cloud
were pushed closer and closer together and got hotter and hotter. The
material (atoms) would collide with each other with more and more energy
until finally they would start a reaction called "Nuclear Fusion"
-taking Hydrogen and forming Helium with the release of vast amounts of
energy. This is the same reaction that occurs in a Hydrogen Bomb here on
the Earth.
All stars start out as huge clouds of gas that collapse on themselves
under gravitational attraction. If the cloud if big enough, so that the
gravity is strong enough, and the collisions of atoms fast and hard
enough, then fusion results and you have a star.

3.Do you think that there's life on other planets besides Earth?
Given that there appear to be billions of stars in our galaxy the Milky Way and
given that there are billions of galaxies in the Universe, and given
that life on earth seems to have started about 1 billion years after the
Earth formed (and been around for 3.5 billion years on our planet) yes I
believe there is life on other planets. But remember of the estimated 3.5 
billion years that life has been on earth, only in the last 100 years did we
learn to fly, and only in the last 40 years did we figure out how to get
a spacecraft into outer space. So, although there may be life on other
planets that doesn't mean that it is intelligent life. Look at the net
or in an astronomy text for something called the "Drake Equation" -this is
an interesting calculation of the chances of us ever being able to
communicate with one of these intellegent life forms between out two
planets -the reality -pretty unlikely. So.. this brings up another
important question -if there is the possibility of intelligent life out
there are there UFOs visiting the Earth. In my opinion -no. I simply
can't believe that a race so intellegent that it can fly the hundreds of
light years (trillions of miles) to get here only to crash on the Earth.
How could they be so advanced to fly so far and then lose it when they
get to earth -it doesn't make sense to me. Additionally, if they had the
technology to  fly so far to study us, we would be like bacteria to
them, I can't believe we would have people with stories of blinking
lights in the sky. There are many, many things here on earth we don't
understand about how the Earth works, and how the human brain operates
-I have a lot of trouble jumping too the conclusion that because we
don't understand it it must be aliens from outerspace!

4.What purpose does the Moon serve?
The Moon doesn't have a "purpose" but it certainly has an effect on the
Earth -the creation of the tides in our oceans. Everyday, if you live on
the coast the ocean will rise and fall twice. This is caused by the
Moons gravitational attraction on the Earths oceans (notice how
important gravity is to astronomy??).

2/5/99 x Don Asquin
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