I love learning facts that challenge long-held assumptions and teach me to see things in a new way.
Today, I learned something which seems completely counterintuitive, which is which planets in our solar system are actually the shortest distance from another.
For example, we all learned the sequence of planets, showing how far away they are from the sun:
- (Sorry Pluto, no longer a planet)
But check out the fascinating video above, which shows how far away the planets actually are from one another.
The answer blew my mind, and I think it will excite you as well.
It turns out that Mercury, the planet closest to the Sun, is also on average the closest planet to every other planet in the solar system.
What is even more interesting is that this appears to have been a blind spot amongst even the most educated people in the physics community, who have usually noted that Venus is the closest planet to Earth. Indeed, Venus is the planet that has the shortest overall distance to earth when the planets are closest to one another. However, this fact seems to have been taken as gospel until a PhD candidate called Tom Stockman disproved it in March 2019.
Yes, that is this year!
Here Tom is explaining his method and his findings:
This could have been solved hundreds of years ago by Newton or even Galileo, but because people were not aware of a problem in our current thinking, nobody had thought to question our current assumptions.
This is one of the reasons why the status quo can go unchallenged for so long in people, companies and society overall.
The author of the video at the top of the page even created a follow-up video about the importance of asking the right questions when challenging assumptions:
Keep learning, and be curious.
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