My husband and I have experienced a spate of “interesting” next-door neighbors over the last year. As a new set of neighbors recently moved in, I couldn’t help praying they’d turn out to be a nice, normal family—with a sense of volume control. Having grown up surrounded by such families, I appreciate the value of good neighbors.

Similarly, Earth needs good neighbors, too. The solar system’s occupants influence Earth’s ability to support life. Take the gas giant planets, for example. (more…)

There’s a great scene in The Empire Strikes Back where the crew of the Millennium Falcon tries desperately to escape a fleet of Imperial star destroyers. Knowing the Falcon is sorely out matched by the size and fire-power of the enemy vessels, Captain Han Solo resorts to flying his ship into a huge asteroid field to evade pursuit.

C-3PO screeches in protest, “Sir, the possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field is approximately 3,720 to 1!”

Han snaps, “Never tell me the odds.” (more…)