planets collide

Do planets collide? Why do planets collide? Look up into the sky and see all the stars and planets and you might wonder if there might be a collision someday. But luckily this is not likely to happen.

What we fail to realise is how much further away certain stars and planets are from the Earth than others. To get a better idea of this, let’s consider our solar system and its planets.

Let’s imagine your head is the Sun in both size and location in the solar system. Your head is then in the centre of a number of rings of different sizes. These rings are the orbits which the planets travel around the Sun.

With your head as the centre, Mercury is the nearest (about 6 metres away from you), Venus moves around in the second ring (12 metres away), in the third ring is Earth (16 metres from your head), in the fourth is Mars, smaller than Earth, and 25 metres away.

Next is Jupiter, the largest of all the planets, in the sixth ring is Saturn, nearly a city street away, Uranus is nearly two streets away and finally, Pluto, which is nearly four streets away.

Since each of them goes around you in orbit without ever-changing, you can now see why they are not likely to bump into one another.

Do you know that Mars is known as the ‘Red Planet’ because it is covered by a stony desert that contains lots of iron oxide, making it appear a rusty-red colour? At one time Mars had an atmosphere containing oxygen, and valleys through which water may have flowed.