Lap of the Sun
Sammy was a bit of a ratbag.
(Girl, fists clenched, elbows high, kicking dirt.)
One day she decided she’d do a challenge. No growing large pumpkins, or winning relay races for her! She announced; “I am going to run around the sun!”
(Girl standing, with cape on, on wooden box, people turning their heads. Boy in crowd, sitting, drawing stuff.)
Of course, Sammy had no idea how she was going to do this.
(Girl building small makeshift rocket ship, with bits of wood and tin, and old hotrod exhaust pipes, etc…)
But built a spaceship anyway.
Sammy’s friend Ollie helped!
(Boy painting aliens on rocket ship, while girl puts on old, second hand space helmet, and running shoes. Helmet still has $5 price tag on it.)
“You do realise that the sun is 4.4 million kilometres around?” Ollie said.
“No problem, I’ve been training!” Sammy bragged.
(Boy painting Saturn on top part of rocket while girl, holding crooked helmet, runs on the spot.)
“Hang on!” Ollie said. “Even if you get as far as Mercury, the sun is hot enough to melt lead!”
(Girl stopping as she is getting into rocket. Boy calling out.)
“And if you go to a planet further than the Earth, you’ll freeze!”
(Girl drifting in space, freezing/hugging herself, Jupiter behind her.)
“The Earth does laps of the sun, why don’t you just stay here?” Ollie asked.
“That’s no challenge!” Sammy protested.
(Boy pointing to painting of Earth rotating the sun he has just done. Girl furious.)
“Besides, a lap of the sun takes the Earth…” Sammy said. “Um…”
“450 million kilometres,” Ollie noted.
“Gah! I’m not that fit!”
(Girl pointing in anger at boy who is looking up facts in space book.)
“That’s nothing!” Ollie scoffed. “The Earth is 40,000kms around, and spins at 1,600kms per hour, and…”
(Boy, head lost in book, sums and diagrams above his head. Girl getting dizzy, about to fall over.)
“I never get that!” Sammy pondered. “If the Earth is spinning so fast, why don’t we fall off?”
(Girl, hand on helmet/chin, thinking. Boy dripping an apple.)
“Gravity,” said Ollie.
“Well, why can’t I feel us spinning at a gazillion kilo-whatevers per nano-whatsits?”
“That’s easy,” said Ollie. “Imagine you’re in a car, or a plane. If it’s speeding up, or slowing down, you feel it. But if it is staying at the same pace, you don’t.”
(Boy and girl in rocket, faces pulled back by g-force.)
“You’re doing my head in!” moaned Sammy. “So, how fast would I have to run to keep up with the Earth, and do a lap of the sun.”
“Um… Just under…”
“30kms a second!”
(Boy working calculator. Girl crouched in race starting position.)
“Gah! I can run a metre a second!”
(Girl running, tongue biting, helmet falling back. Yet only a metre in front of boy.)
“Okay, here’s a plan. The Earth will do a lap of the sun in a year. As long as you are running on the Earth, you can say you ran around the sun,” Oscar said.
(Girl shouting while looking at diagram boy is drawing of a small Earth and girl comically running around it. Boy is also drawing lots of space aliens.)
“And waste my rocket ship!?” Sammy squawked.
“So the Earth spins around the sun because of the sun’s gravity,” Ollie said. “And we stay on the Earth because of the Earth’s gravity… and the moon revolves around us because of our-”
(Boy on moon in snorkel and goggles, girl with space helmet on, bounding up from moon’s surface into starry sky.)
“The MOON!” Sammy cheered. “It has 1/6th of the Earth’s gravity! I could run there!”
“But you won’t have enough oxygen to – gack!”
(Girl trying to strangle boy.)
“Just stay here and draw monsters with me,” Ollie said.
“No way, a challenge is a challenge!” Sammy insisted. “Okay, run day and night for a year… Here I go…”
(Boy back to sitting on ground, drawing. Girl, helmet on, visor up, foot in air, biting tongue, abut to run… Behind them is a line-up of the monsters, Vikings and aliens the boy is drawing.)
“Hey, I didn’t say which sun! Maybe I could run around another one.”
“Our sun is small to average,” Ollie said. “There are trillions of suns out there. Some are 1 BILLION times bigger than ours!”
(Girl running, head back, boy riding beside her with a makeshift frame on his bike holding a telescope upward, which he is looking into.)
“I thought our sun was big!” Sammy protested.
“It is. You could fit one million Earths into it,” Ollie told her.
“Double GAH!” gasped Sammy.
(Girl now red-faced, puffing, dragging feet. Boy in a small box glider above her, the occasional random kid in background.)
(Girl collapsing. Boy now on a pogo stick.)
“Next time I’m building a time machine…” Sammy sighed.
(Girl, face down on ground, Boy back to sitting, drawing. Two or three monsters behind him.)
“I love your challenges. I learn things,” Ollie told her.