Recently, the news of a new animation by NASA got everyone’s attention, mainly because of its subject. Jessie Christiansen, a scientist from NASA, picked to show another image of the well-known dinosaurs. She intends to give better insights about how long the dinosaurs’ reign persisted. Also, she wants to show how short the era of humans has been in contrast, by following the solar system’s actions through the Milky Way. Christiansen began from the following idea: the Sun orbits the galaxy’s core, realizing its rotation every 250 million years or so. She then showed that last time our Solar System was at its current position in the galaxy, the Triassic Period was in total motion, and dinosaurs were just starting to appear. At that time, many well-known dinosaurs traveled Earth when the planet was in a different place of the Milky Way.
Christiansen related, “I have always been interested in galactic archaeology, but I don’t think this is what they meant. Did you know that dinosaurs lived on the other side of the Galaxy?”
Developing the Idea of Animation
Jessie Christiansen explained that stargazing at the California Institute of Technology led her to build the idea of animation. She only needed 4 hours in PowerPoint to develop the film using timed animations. Corrections such as the fact that plesiosaurs are not dinosaurs, and we realize a galactic orbit every 250 million years (not 200) could be encountered. Christiansen explained how stars and the planetary systems are in a continuous moving at various speeds, and in other orbits, as well. More intriguingly, the galaxy itself is moving through space, slightly getting close to the Andromeda galaxy proximity. Christiansen added, “Our solar system doesn’t travel to the center of the galaxy and then back again. We always stay about this distance away.”
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