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So Near, and Yet So Far
Kirt's Cogitations™ #128

These original Kirt's Cogitations™ may be reproduced (no more than 5, please) provided proper credit is given to me, Kirt Blattenberger.

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   Cog·i·ta·tion [koj-i-tey'-shun] – noun: Concerted thought or
                                        reflection; meditation; contemplation.
   Kirt [kert] – proper noun: RF Cafe webmaster.

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So Near, and Yet So Far

We can directly observe the composition of the rings of Saturn - 850 million miles away - but we still can't figure out what lies at the center of our Earth - a mere 4,000 miles away! Traditional theory suggests it is a solid core of nickel-iron, surrounded by a liquid region of iron, nickel, and a mix of sulfur, oxygen and silicon. A more avant-garde postulate claims a literal nuclear reactor core of uranium and plutonium, surrounded by a molten core of iron, sulfur and silicon. Both dynamo models account handily for the Earth's magnetic field - including the cyclic variations. The greatest hole ever drilled, on Russia's Kola Peninsula, is only 7.5 miles deep, or less than 0.2% of the way to the center. In geophysicist Herndon's words, "That's roughly comparable to learning about Alaska by driving from St. Petersburg, FL to Tampa."
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