Sunday, August 16, 2009

From Religious Persecution to the Cosmos...All Between Church and the Taco Place

It's not very far. The drive from church to a local shopping area. Maybe 10 minutes TOPS. But, in that 10-minute span this morning, our seven-year old son managed to ask a litany of questions that spanned from astrophysics to religious persecution. My mind is still reeling. I grabbed a spare scrap of paper and jotted them down as he shot them at us from the back seat. Are you ready? Fasten your seatbelt and hold on. I give you...Daniel's Questions in a Ten-Minute Window of Time:

1. Did some guy in Russia ask you a lot of questions about being parents like they did before you got Jacob?
2. Why do some people attack Jewish people?
3. Can you tell people about God in Russia?
4. If people on the same Army team retreat and go down the wrong road can the bad guys still attack them?
5. Is 60 minutes the same thing as counting to 60 sixty times? (yeah, think hard about that one.)

and now.....ladies and gents....we continue our questioning with an intent focus on all things outer spacey:

6. Can planets move around anyway besides in circles?
7. Are the cold planets the reason we have nighttime? (Do what??)
8. Is it true that there are other living things besides humans in space?
9. Did you know that in space you can die if you get too close to the tip of the sun cause it will melt your ship?
10. Why don't the planets close to the sun just burn up?

need I remind you this is in a TEN-MINUTE SPAN, folks.... I needed ten minutes just to GET STARTED THINKING ABOUT number 5...

11.Why are there some planets with nothing on them, Mom, cause that doesn't make sense.
12. How do meteors hit the Earth when it really doesn't happen that often?

HELP ME. Of course, I am very happy to have a healthy, inquisitive child. But Momma's brain felt like a pile of Jello once we reached our destination. I did my best to answer as many as I could; however, I forgot to brush up on my knowledge of all thing astrological before heading out for services this morning.

I will be prepared next time. I'll fire back with ratios and calculations so precise that he will be struck down with awe at the unexpected intelligence of his Momma. Course, that'll just lead to more questions.

I am so in trouble.


Sincerely Anna said...

Oh my, his mind is cranking. What a smart dude. I would say you need to invest in a car DVD player! :) I'm totally kidding, all the questions are so good but I feel for you!

Melissa said...

Answers from Dave, PhD... (as transcribed by Melissa)
#6 -- Planets move in ellipses (an oval), although it is all relative to what you are looking at. It is true if they are orbiting around the sun, however, planets in other solar systems... (From Melissa: Sorry Katie and Daniel, I quit listening after that.)
#7 -- No, they're not. (blah blah blah, astro mumbo-jumbo, blah blah blah...) We have nighttime because of how the earth is spinning, and how it is orbitting around the sun. Which also gives us our seasons. (From Melissa: Sorry, I stopped listening after the part about the earth being like a spinning top. And then he got into percentages...) I suggest using a salt shaker and a pepper shaker to show Daniel. And put a piece of tape (to represent humans) around the middle of the pepper shaker. (From Melissa: Sorry, I stopped listening after the part about the tape.) And then, if Daniel has advanced questions, we can talk about seasons as the next step. (sigh)
#8 -- (raises eyebrows) We don't know. Only God knows. The real quest is for water on other planets, because water can foster life.
#9 -- Yes. Although they have built an observer to fly into the sun.
#10 -- (blah blah blah, astro-babble, blah blah blah) Basically, Mercury doesn't burn up because it is in constant motion around the sun. If the velocity (speed) of Mercury stopped, then the gravitational pull by the sun would draw it in even closer and burn it up. (From Melissa: Think about it like this -- if you are barefoot on the beach, and you just stand there, your feet burn up...but if you jump around alot, then they don't get burned.)
#11 -- Huh? Which planets have nothing on them? Does he mean living things? Because most of them have molten rock, and atmospheres that have decayed (From Melissa: Sorry, he lost me there).
#12 -- OH, but the Earth's atmosphere is constantly being bombarded by meteorites at the external reaches of the atmosphere...but only a very few of the more massive chunks actually reach the Earth's surface because the rest of it burns up in the atmosphere.

And this whole realm of science is Astronomy (not to be confused with Astrology, giggle giggle).

(Melissa asks Dave if he wants to add anything else...)
Keep the questions coming! NASA has some really good websites, and part of my job is learning about some of the same things you are asking about!

(From Melissa:'re welcome!)