heliocentrism is the idea that the sun, not the earth, is at the center of our solar system. nearly 500 years ago, the polish astronomer, nicolaus copernicus, introduced a model of the solar system which successfully described the observed motion of the planets and the sun across the sky... with the planets orbiting around the sun. the definitive work of copernicus, on the revolutions of heavenly spheres, was not published until 1543, the year of his death, because the religious doctrine of the time literally interpreted the christian bible to mean that the earth was at the center of the universe.
over the last 500 years, astronomers like kepler, galileo and newton have further solidified our knowledge of the detailed mechanics of exactly how the planets orbit the sun. even more recently we've begun to understand how the sun itself orbits about the center of our milky way galaxy from a distance of 30,000 light years! today we use the detailed knowledge of the motions and positions of planets to send spacecrafts out into the outer regions of our solar system.
we sent the Galileo spacecraft to jupiter several years ago to explore the planet's atmosphere and several of its moons. we first sent galileo toward venus and then back past the earth for a couple of close flybys. this allowed it to use the planets gravity to accelerate to higher speeds in a cosmic game of slingshot! the spacecraft would have required 16 times more fuel if scientists had not utilized the gravitational mechanics of the nearby celestial objects! to do this, very precise predictions of the planets in their orbits must be known over extended periods of time!
for this reason, i was utterly shocked to read a recent blog called "heliocentrism is an atheist doctrine". oh. my. please. help me... breathe. i mean, seriously..... i cant believe anyone actually still believes that the *earth* is the the center of the UNIVERSE! and to make this phenomenon more unbelievable... this post comes from a blog dedicated to electing sam brownback for president. not only does this topic have NOTHING to do with american politics, but it is just plain ridiculous!
are these people denying the beauty and wonder of the spacecrafts that have landed on mars and sent back some of the most amazing pictures ever taken by humankind? because if our models about the solar system were wrong, we NEVER would have landed anything on mars!
in general, i have no interest in choosing a candidate so so so far before even the primary elections, but i know one politician i definitely wont consider for 2008. ugh.