I saw this picture of one of my favorite humans, Hank Green, floating around and felt like I had to add these basic examples.

Yes, there are extremely harmful chemicals/molecules out there, but you can’t be afraid of all chemicals because literally everything is made of chemicals - from the air to your full body. Your body functions because it makes chemicals and reacts with other chemicals. Your senses are results of chemical reactions. Your emotions are chemicals, your food and nutrition are chemicals, your whole life is chemicals. Whether it’s a solid, liquid, or a gas. Chemicals.

There’s a big reason why you have to take a lot of chemistry when you study biology…

Life IS chemistry.


Surface cracks on Europa, one of Jupiter’s many moons.

Europa is full of water and water ice - the cracks are thought to be a result of tidal forces. Jupiter’s gravity is incredibly strong, as it swings around Jupiter, the gravity pulls the surface ice apart and it refreezes, creating these brilliant surface scars. The tidal forces also keep the interior nice and toasty, creating liquid water under the surface. Let’s hope there’s some sort of space shark down there!


Planet Earth.
The above images may look like art, but they are indeed places on Earth. Most of them are part of NASA’s Earth as Art. Click each image to see where they are.

Fun facts about the Earth:
• Earth is the only planet with only one moon.
• The Earth is not a perfectly round sphere, it bows outward at the equater as if it was stepped on (like an oval). The actual shape is “oblate spheroid”
• Earth is the only planet that has liquid water that can freely flow on the surface - Mars occassionally has liquid water but it quickly evaporates
• This planet is the only one that has an atmosphere that consists primarily of oxygen

Part of Celestial Reconnaissance Bodies of the Solar System series. :)
CLICK HERE for the series.



I’ve most definitely posted about Europa before but it definitely deserves many posts.

Europa is one of Jupiter’s largest moons. Europa has recently been more focused on because of the fact that it shows signs of an ocean underneath the surface, as pictured below.

External image

The cracks in the surface are believed to be from Jupiter’s gravity twisting and pulling on it, causing cracks in the surface ice. The lines are believed to be from salty water rising to the surface and refreezing. This ice, I might add, is WATER. This is what makes it so exciting. Having a warm ocean underneath increases the possibility of there being life forms under the ice.

Part of Celestial Reconnaissance Bodies of the Solar System series. :)
CLICK HERE for the series.


Storms in other worlds.

Earth is not the only world with storms in our Solar System, and in many cases, even our most destructive storms are pipsqueaks compared to our neighboring worlds.
Venus, with its runaway greenhouse effect has clouds of CO2 and likely lots of lightning.
Mars is known for its dust storms, some are so huge that they will pose threats to future astronauts on Mars. Pictured is a simple dust devil.
The Jovian Giants are full of storms. Jupiter’s big red spot is perhaps the most famous, but the other gas giants are no stranger to epic storms that last many years.
Titan has a dense atmopshere and has an abundance of methane. There are storm systems that rain liquid methane. This means there are vast seas and rivers of methane too.


Aurora - Not just for Earth.

Typically, if the planet has an active iron core/magnetosphere, it gets aurora at its poles!

Do note that yes, the aurora appear at both the North and South poles on Earth. Those who live in northern regions are not the only ones enjoying the show. Scientists/nerds and penguins living in Antarctica get to enjoy them too. Perhaps the polar bears do too….maybe some seals…Occasionally (though rare), Australia can see them too!


Pluto (bottom image) with various other non-planets.

Since everyone has their knickers in a knot over Pluto not being a planet, here are various different celestial objects who are also not classified as planets. You’ll notice, just because it’s not called a “planet” doesn’t mean it isn’t cool.

Let us be reminded, there is no heirarchy of celestial bodies. It wasn’t necessarily “demoted” from planethood, it was simply reclassified as something else. There’s literally no reason to be emotionally attatched to the idea of Pluto’s planetary classifaction.

But what “classifies” a planet anyway?

According to the International Astronomical Union, there are 3 basic requirements that it must meet:
1) It orbits the sun
2) Sufficient mass to assume a “hydrostatic equilibrium” (meaning it’s mostly shaped like a globe)
3) Has “cleared its neighborhood” in its orbit.

The third one is where Pluto fails. What they mean by “clearing the neighborhood” is that the orbital path is good and clear. Every planet will still collide with something now and then but their orbital paths are not occupied by anything that is similar to the size of the planet itself. They’re not really in danger of running into much of anything except maybe an asteroid or a comet that might enter their path and collide.

In addition, here is an image showcasing the dwarf planets of the solar system. Pluto isn’t alone in it’s classification.

So don’t be sad over Pluto not being a planet, you’re just being melodramatic. Wipe your tears away with some scientific literacy. ;)


Io - Moon of Jupiter.
Hell in the solar system

Io is full of highly active volcanism. The surface is a hellish place. It’s hot and constantly errupting. It’s believed that the moon is super hot because of the force of Jupiter’s gravity constantly pulling on it, creating heat.
The eruptions glow bright colors because it’s shooting ions into space. Now that’s cool.

Part of Celestial Reconnaissance Bodies of the Solar System series. :)
CLICK HERE for the series.



Enceladus is a moon of Saturn that is believed to have an ocean under its surface. As pictured above, Enceladus has giant plumes. These plumes contain water vapor, carbon dioxide, and various trace compounds like ammonia. The geysers can erupt up to 3x the radius of Enceladus itself, suggesting the interior is rather warm.

This is a fantastic place to search for life! There could be life forms under the ice. Similarly to Earth, there could be life thriving on the extreme conditions at the bottom of the ocean.