June 6, 2011

Blast from the Past: The Goldilocks Planet

Posted by Evelyn Mervine

Earth, the Goldilocks Planet. Click to view larger.

On Saturday I am leaving Woods Hole to spend the summer in Laramie, Wyoming. Between now and then I have a zillion things to do. I pretty much have to work constantly prepping samples in lab, running the mass spectrometer, packing, and cleaning out my apartment. Oh, and maybe remembering to eat and sleep now and again.

I’m pretty tired as aside from my trip to South Africa to visit my fiance back in April and a weekend trip to go wedding dress shopping, I haven’t taken any time off since December. I work every weekend and many evenings. Grad school is hard work, that’s for sure! However, there are many benefits to being a grad student. I am paid to explore and travel and do fun things, like go spend the summer in beautiful Laramie. I need to work on data interpretation and writing, but I should be able to take a weekend day off here and there to explore some of the beautiful Wyoming countryside. And there will be NO labwork! I love the lab, but frankly I’m a bit sick of labwork after the last six months of grueling lab labor.

Despite the recent long months of labwork, I love working as a geologist because through my geology work I am able to explore the amazing planet on which we live. Earth is pretty amazing, don’t you know? As my 9-year-old self put it in the drawing above, Earth is the Goldilocks planet– it’s not too hot, it’s not too cold. It’s just right*.

The Goldilocks drawing came from my school report “Space Unit” from 1993.

*Though Carl Sagan might say that Earth only feels like a Goldilocks planet to us because we evolved to live on it. If life exists on other planets, that life probably thinks their planets are pretty perfect, too. Even if those planets are very different from our Earth.