Broken Moons #science #space #poem #poetry

protoplanets collide

Protoplanets collide, but tidal forces may have been important, too

The solar system was a dangerous place
Three billion years ago.
Protoplanets and icy debris
Hurtled to and fro.

Bent space with their masses,
Warped time as they flew,
Leaving behind
Crusts networked with clues.

It didn’t require direct impact,
While those were common too,
Tidal encounters were all that it took
To rend a surface in two.

Life’s a system so fragile!
We worry if temperatures rise.
We’re shook by quakes and volcanoes,
But at least our crust won’t divide.

I’m glad to be born in the relative calm
Since planets have cleared out their orbits.
Snuggled within a biosphere,
Not hammered by what came before it.

By Kate Rauner

Thanks to and Alice Quillen (University of Rochester in New York) et al for their new modeling study, which has been accepted for publication in the journal Icarus.


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