The three-body problem is more difficult in physics than it is in nature.

Fortunately, it’s never been all that much of a problem in my life, because nothing is harder to predict. One woman at a time is usually enough for me, maybe too much. Scientists had described the tiniest components of an atom long before even something as basic as continental drift was accepted, but has never been able to predict the effect of three celestial bodies on the movements of each other, or turbulence of any kind, for that matter, including weather. It’ll take some more powerful computers, I guess. The problem, of course, is that there are nine planets, most with multiple moons, not to mention many other transient bodies, so the equation gets more complicated. For better or worse, most stars are not like our good ol’ Sun. Over a hundred so-called ‘earth-like’ planets have been discovered by now, but nothing like our solar system, splayed out like a prism of light and color, solid and liquid and gas, gravity and inertia, all held in delicate balance and suspension, a heavenly symphony about which we know very little. Find another Sun-like solar system and you just might find another truly earth-like planet.

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