Trivia

Hard

The Only Planet In Our Solar System That Isn’t Named After A Roman Deity Is?

Uranus
Neptune
Earth
Saturn
The Earth, as seen from the Apollo 17 spacecraft en route to the Moon.
Apollo 17 Crew (NASA)/ Wikimedia

Answer: Earth

The naming conventions we’ve applied to celestial bodies, including the one we stand on, are an interesting reflection of how we see ourselves in the universe. All of the planets in our solar system are named after Roman gods: from sun-hugging Mercury all the way out to the icy surface of Neptune, the planets have names that reflect a skyward gazing-respect for science and exploration that was once reserved for the deities they were named after.

All the planets but one, that is. Our own little planet has a rather humble name. Earth’s name is derived from a long etymological chain that stretches back through Middle English into Old English and its Germanic roots, and then back into proto-Germanic where all along it has meant the ground, its soil, dry land, the human world, the surface of the world (including the sea), and the globe itself.

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