Zooming Through The Universe

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John Smith


With best wishes from

Matt and Ben


Story by: Zoran Todorovic

Illustrated by: Eva Ras

To reorder, see last page


John Smith, age 7, from Seattle, Washington, had spent all day with Meredith, Amelia and Derek playing a game ofmiracles. John strongly believedthat a real miracle would happen to himone day. That night, as he prepared for bed, he heard strange sounds outside. He ran to the window and couldn’t believe his eyes when he realized that there was a large space shuttle right in his backyard.

As he watched, beautiful, funny creatures appeared from the space craft and one of them said to John. “We are your friends from Space and we have come to take you on a tour through the Solar system. Would you like that?” John nodded. “Hop on board!” they all yelled. John was astonished! He briskly ran into their space shuttle before they could change their mind.

So smooth was the launch that John did not even realize that they had taken off. As they zoomed through space, John
was fascinated by all the new sights and sounds around him. He was immediately enchanted by a small space robot named Zoto. Zoto led John to a big window from where they could see the whole solar system. He pointed to the planets and began to speak in a strange, unearthly voice.

“The Sun is the source of life for all because it gives warmth and light. There are nine planets travelling around the Sun. The nine planets and the Sun make up the solar system. The path a planet follows around the Sun is called its orbit. The first planet, Mercury, races around in its orbit at a dizzying speed. It is covered by craters and has no water at all,” Zoto explained. John was amazed at everything he was seeing and wished that Meredith, Amelia and Derek were there to see it too.

“Venus is the closest planet to Earth and it’s about the same size as Earth. You can’t really see its surface because a thick layer of yellow cloud surrounds it. The Sun shines on these clouds so Venus looks very bright in the sky. You can see it just before the Sun rises or just after it sets. And of course, there is planet Earth, your home. Most of Earth is
covered with water. Earth has one big Moon. Its size causes gravitation, which in turn causes the oceans to have tides,”
said Zoto.

“Look at the red planet Mars! It is made of rock which contains a lot of iron. The rusted iron makes the planet look red. Mars has the biggest volcano in the solar system. It is much higher than the tallest volcano on Earth,” Zoto explained.
John was taken aback by the asteroid belt. “Asteroids are like small planets. Beyond the asteroid belt is Jupiter, the biggest planet in the solar system. Jupiter is made of hot, swirling gases. Spaceships cannot land on Jupiter because it would be like landing on a cloud!” said Zoto.

“Wow! I never imagined anything as great as this!” John exclaimed. “Wait till you see the planet Saturn and its colourful rings.” Zoto told him. “Saturn is the second largest planet in the Solar system, but it is also the lightest. In fact, Saturn would probably float on water if there was enough water to put it in. Another fascinating thing is that Saturn has twenty-two moons, more than any other planet!” he explained.

“This is really something!” John was enthralled. Zoto only smiled and continued to explain. “Uranus is interesting, too. Its surface is a superheated ocean of water. The blue-green colour comes from its gases and, like Saturn, it is surrounded by rings.” John suddenly saw the giant blue planet Neptune, which inspired the ancient people to name it after the god of the deep blue sea.

But time was passing and they had to move on to the last planet, Pluto. “Pluto is farthest from the Sun. It is a small planet, even smaller than Mercury and it is solid like Earth,” explained Zoto. “Beyond Pluto, there are billions of stars. All stars belong to giant groups called galaxies. The Sun is one of billions of stars in your galaxy. Your galaxy is one of billions of galaxies in space. It is a very, very big universe!” he continued.

Soon it was time for John to go back home, to planet Earth. He couldn’t wait to tell Meredith, Amelia and Derek about his adventure. He had had the time of his life. John especially thanked Zoto for showing him all the planets in the solar
system. But most of all, he was thankful to his new extraterrestrial friends for the miracle they had given him. Sometimes miracles do happen!

This book was specially created for
John Smith
Our little astronaut!

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