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Our Magical World We Call Earth

We give our home planet little thought as we travel through space.

By Unravelling the UniversePublished 4 months ago 5 min read
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Our Magical World We Call Earth
Photo by Alejandro Piñero Amerio on Unsplash

British spelling

We take our home planet for granted; this chunk of rock orbiting the sun is so special to us and the millions of other species with whom we share it. And, as far as we know, there is no other place remotely like it.

Our beautiful world, the Earth, is the third-closest planet to the Sun, orbiting at a distance of 149.6 million kilometres, or 93 million miles.

There are countless reasons why life as we know it can live and thrive on this magical planet, but one of the main reasons is that it orbits the Sun at the perfect distance, which is called the Goldilocks zone or habitable zone.

This area in space ensures that it is neither too hot nor too cold, and liquid water exists in this habitable zone, which is a requirement for all life on Earth.

If we were much closer to the sun, our oceans and lakes would boil dry, and if Earth were further from the sun, all the water would be frozen solid.

Sometime in the distant future, the conditions on Earth will change and all life will end, but that will be a natural process.

The sun is slowly getting warmer, and some experts believe that in a billion years, it will be so hot on the Earth’s surface that all life will be extinct.

But in the meantime, I hope that humanity will treat our only home with respect for the sake of ourselves and all other living things that share our world.

By Alfred Schrock on Unsplash

The Earth is roughly 4.5 billion years old, just a little younger than the Sun. Gravity has pulled most of the heavier elements, like iron and nickel, down into its core, with the lighter elements staying at the surface and forming the crust.

Due to the Earth’s massive molten iron core and its rotation, a magnetic field was created around our planet, and that magnetic field has protected the Earth ever since.

It deflects most of the solar wind; those charged particles would otherwise strip away the protective ozone layer, which protects our planet from ultraviolet radiation.

It took a long time for the molten Earth to cool down from its violent birth, but as it cooled, the new conditions allowed the first rain to fall from the sky, which began forming the oceans and lakes.

It is thought that our planet contained water when it formed, and later on, incoming asteroids and comets also contributed to the water we see on Earth today.

Around 3.5 to 4 billion years ago, some elements came together in the oceans and formed the key substances that would eventually create the first life on our planet.

You are a very advanced life form, but why are you here? Evolution is thought to be the reason.

Evolutionary biologists agree that humans and other living species are descended from simple bacteria-like ancestors. Bacteria can be traced back at least 3.5 billion years.

By CDC on Unsplash

Over countless generations, small modifications have taken place, and the small changes that are more favourable to life are more likely to be passed on to the next generation. This has been playing out since the first life appeared on our world; that process is called natural selection.

Everyone has their thoughts as to why we exist; personally, for me, evolution is the only plausible reason.

One thing that evolution does need is plenty of time, as it is a very slow process. A human lifespan is not long enough for us to notice the tiny changes taking place in populations.

Life is amazing, but it must be said that it is not yet fully understood why life got started here on Earth.

Fossil stromatolites have been found in western Australia dating back 3.5 billion years; their columns were constructed by Cyanobacteria, a single-cell photosynthesising microbe.

That was a game-changer for the development of life because they produced the by-product oxygen, which slowly accumulated in our oceans and the atmosphere. That element eventually led to a big leap in animal evolution and diversity.

It took about 400 million years from the present day for insects to arrive and spread around the globe.

Dinosaurs roamed the Earth for an estimated 165 million years and unexpectedly died out 66 million years ago when a large asteroid impacted the Earth.

130 million years into the past is when flowering plants appeared.

By Sergey Shmidt on Unsplash

Our early ancestors existed in Africa six million years ago, and modern man, Homo sapiens, has been around for well over two hundred thousand years. Civilization as we know it has existed for six thousand years.

Now we are here at the top of the tree of life, some animals have evolved to be stronger, larger, and faster than we are; some can fly; and many live out their lives in water.

But what sets us apart is that we have developed the most advanced brain, which has given us intelligence, curiosity, and the ability to carry out science, providing us with a better understanding of the universe and life itself.

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Where is our planet going, and what is it doing?

Most of us give little thought to what our planet is doing or where it is going. To us, it seems to be stationary in space, but that is not the case.

24 hours, or one day, is the time it takes for the Earth to complete one revolution on its axis. To give an idea of how fast the Earth is spinning, imagine this: If you were standing on the equator, the widest part of the Earth, you would be travelling over 1,600 kilometres, or 994 miles per hour, all due to that daily spin.

One year is the time the Earth takes to make a complete orbit around our local star, the Sun. Our distance from the sun is almost 150 million kilometres or 93 million miles. To make that yearly journey, our planet is speeding through space at 107,000 kilometres or 66,485 miles per hour.

Since its early beginning, our planet has circled the sun roughly 4.5 billion times, which makes you realise how short our lives are! We all need to make the most of our precious time and enjoy our ride on spaceship Earth.

Our planet is part of the Solar System, which is in orbit around the centre of our galaxy, the Milky Way. That epic journey travelling at roughly 790,000 kilometres, or 490,000 miles per hour, is called a galactic or cosmic year and takes about 225 million years to complete.

So you could say that the Earth is roughly 20 cosmic years old, which sounds much younger than 4.5 billion years old.

One cosmic year ago, or the last time the Solar System was in this position in its path around our galaxy, dinosaurs were just beginning to colonise the Earth, and it would be a very, very long time before we humans arrived on the scene.

To top it off, our galaxy with you and the rest of humanity onboard is travelling through space at about 2.2 million kilometres, or 1.36 million miles per hour, and we don’t even notice it.

That incredible speed is relative to the cosmic background radiation.

By Kinga Howard on Unsplash

We go to bed, shut our eyes, and fall asleep. The next time you open your eyes in the morning, think of this: in an average sleep, you will have travelled an incredible distance of 15 million kilometres, or 9.3 million miles, through space.

The end.

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You may find my easy-to-understand stories about the universe and life interesting and educational.

If you subscribe to me for free, you will see my latest stories. Regards.

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About the Creator

Unravelling the Universe

We can only imagine what our early ancestors thought as they gazed up at the night sky—were they curious about what the heavens had to hide? 

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  • Ha Le Sa4 months ago

    You're doing amazing work

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