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'Another Lap for the Plucky Planet'

January 01, 2012|By Diane K. Fisher
(JPL )

Sun and Earth have a chat.

"Well, Happy New Year,

Little blue Earth!

You've made one more lap

'Round my blazing hot girth.

"Through my merciless winds,

For yet one more year

You've kept a firm hold

On your atmosphere."

"Dear Sun, you're most generous

With all of your praise.

You know it's a feat

To defend from your blaze.

"For you hurl out harsh rays

And electrical dust

That could fry life on Earth.

It would truly combust!

"It's been quite a journey!

It takes quite a while,

To go five hundred eighty-four

Millions of miles!

"To spin three hundred sixty five

Times, plus a quarter.

Not to gripe, though.

I don't want the trip to be shorter!

"For Earth's yearly lap

Is just about right.

Much closer I'd fry

And the light be too bright.

"And farther away

My whole ocean would freeze.

I'd have nothing like fishes,

And people, and trees."

"How convenient

My energy thaws out your ocean.

But remember

I'm all about nuclear explosion!

"My temper is fiery.

I'm stormy. Hotheaded!

I blow out a wind full of

Ions-most dreaded!

"With electrical charges,

These dust bits are brutal,

Speed a million or more miles

Per hour, it's futile

"To plant any trees,

Grow a frog, or a gnu!

So tell me, small Earth,

What trick do you do?"

"I have an invisible shield!

Its protection,

A bubble of safety,

against your aggression.

"My core's spinning metal.

It's electro-magnetic.

It puts out a force field

that's quite energetic

"And keeps out your dust.

But there's yet one more question.

Your X- and U-V rays-

Quite bad for digestion!

"Lucky for me,

My atmosphere scatters

Those rays, and lets through

The light that most matters."

"How clever you are!

I would never have guessed

By your small fragile face

You're so heartily blessed."

"Fortune is mine.

I am one lucky sphere.

Off I go! Cheer me on

For another fine year!"

Listen in on more of this meeting between Super Star and the Plucky Planet at

Illustration is by Alexander Novati. This article was provided by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

For more Kids' Reading Room, visit And for a special tribute to the Jet Propulsion Lab and Diane K. Fisher, check out Short Stories, where you will find a collection of past stories from the Jet Propulsion Lab.

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