By Heather Catchpole
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Additional info for It's True! Space Turns You into Spaghett
The Moon rotates around us every 291⁄2 days and it takes roughly the same time to rotate on its own axis. Because of this, we only ever see one face of the Moon. We call the other side of the Moon the ‘lunar farside’. Until the 1960s, when the Soviet Union photographed it, and the Apollo 8 to 17 spacecraft mapped this side of the Moon, no one had seen this landscape. 25 VENUS AND MERCURY BEHIND THE SUN Venus is the closest planet to Earth, orbiting between us and the Sun. Although it is similar in size to Earth, Venus is a very different place.
Ancient civilisations placed great importance on astronomical events, such as the summer and winter solstices. They made detailed calendars and built temples and pyramids that lined up with the stars, Sun and planets. Stars were the guiding light for sailors at sea, and caravans in the desert. Newborn babies were given detailed star charts that foretold their future. Chinese astronomers have been keeping detailed records of the stars and planets for a very long time. They used the records to determine the seasons and the passage of time.
Rocky bodies wobble out of their orbit and shoot through space towards the inner planets and their moons. Many meteoroids have hit Earth in the past, and scientists think that one such impact may have wiped out the dinosaurs. Once you zoomed through the asteroids in a spaceship, the spectacular sight of the giant gas planets would greet you. Jupiter and Saturn are huge balls of gas surrounded by rings and moons. HEAVENS ABOVE! ALL THE PLANETS APART FROM EARTH ARE NAMED AFTER ROMAN GODS. Speedy Mercury is the gods’ messenger.