Summary and Conclusions
Intellectually, this grand cruise across the Solar System has been one of the most stimulating voyages we have taken. One could not have asked for more informed guides than the geologists who have been involved in the many National Aeronautical and Space Administration projects on the Solar System. Their numerous reports have provided us with concise views rather than a maze of unrelated images of that part of the cosmos which we inhabit. It is obvious from their descriptions that the cosmos is not only well organized, but also it is beautiful. In the early eighteenth century the Dictionnaire de l’Academie Française defined the literary form ‘romance’ as a light verse that tells an ancient tale. This short book is our version of a romance of the Solar System. It is a tale that roams within the vastness of the cosmos with our gaze concentrating on one aspect of the cosmos, then turning abruptly to another phenomenon. Our discourse seems to show a cosmos that is accumulating tension, leading to some unknown climax as it expands ever outward since the Big Bang. Sometimes it is difficult to avoid the feeling that our study of the Solar System and its place in the Universe is rather superficial as though an understanding of this immense canvas is beyond our comprehension. To rephrase the words that Fuentes (1992, p. 53) used to describe the great mosque at Cordoba, the cosmos is a vision of the infinite where the creation searches for the creator to complete the task. We believe that this task is to make the unknown known. It is an image of the cosmos where different events are occurring at different places at the same time, and yet we believe that all these alterations form part of the same event. This tale of ours must not be looked upon as the ultimate explanation of the Solar System. On reading this essay errors will be found, errors of omission and/or commission, and there will be some readers who will strongly disagree with what we say. So be it. We hope that those who read this book will find reading it as enjoyable as we found writing it, and we hope that we have given proper credit to all.
KeywordsSolar Wind Solar System Mantle Plume Plate Tectonic Lower Mantle
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