21 July, 2014
Marble in the Middle of Nowhere…
Close your eyes and imagine a big dark and
empty space. Now, put a blue marble in the middle and make it spin in place.
That’s the Earth… home to you and me and all the other living things that share
the planet with us. Among all the planets in the solar system, it is unique and
Let me tell you why…
- Earth, the 3rd
planet from the Sun is the only planet in the Solar System that has oxygen and
harbors Life as we know it. There may be other forms of life on other planets,
but for now, this is the only planet we can live in.
- When viewed from space, most of
the Earth’s surface can’t be seen because of the clouds formed from water
vapor. It is a blue marble with swirling
clouds of white.
- The Earth is the only planet in
the solar system that has surface water. It is composed of 70% water and 30%
land. It is rightly called The Blue Planet.
- The Earth is not really a perfect circle like we
see in most pictures. It is a little fat in the middle because of gravity. It’s
flatter at the North and South Poles and has a bulge in the equator – this
shape is called a Spheroid or Ellipse
- It is located in the Solar
System’s “Goldilocks Zone” – not too far from the Sun to be cold and not too
near to be too hot. Scientists think that this is the reason why Life was able
to flourish on Earth. In our search for Earth-like planets orbiting other Suns,
we look in the area of the Goldilocks Zone.
- Although you don’t feel it, the
Earth is spinning on its axis. Its spin gives us our days and nights, depending
on which side is facing the sun. You can’t feel it because gravity and momentum
keeps you firmly attached to the planet and unaware of the movement, but it’s
actually spinning at 1,667 kilometers per hour! It takes the Earth 23 hours, 56
minutes and 4 seconds to rotate on its axis completely – that’s why a day lasts
for 24 hours.
- Not only is it spinning on its
axis, the Earth is also revolving around the Sun at a speed of 108,000
kilometers per hour! In one orbit, the planet travels 940 million kilometers
and it completes the orbit in 365.242199 days, which is one year. More:
- The Earth is 150 million
kilometers from the Sun. That’s very far. It takes 8 minutes and 20 seconds for
the sun’s light to reach the Earth.
- Our planet is old. It was
formed 4.28 billion years ago.
- Of all the water in the planet,
only 3% is fresh water. 97% is in the ocean, which is salty.
- The Moon accompanies the Earth
in its journey through space. It is the 5th largest natural
satellite in the solar system.
- The planet has 3 parts: The
Crust, The Mantle and the Core.
- The Earth’s Inner Core, 1,800 miles beneath your
feet, is a solid ball composed mostly of iron. Down there, new studies show
that the temperature is 6,000 degrees Celsius! (10,832 degrees Fahrenheit).
This inner core is 2/3 the size of the moon.
- Surrounding the inner core of
iron is a liquid outer core made also of iron, nickel and other metals. The
pressure in this area is less than that in the inner core that’s why the metals
are liquid. The movement of the outer liquid core gives the Earth its Magnetic Field.
- The Magnetic Field protects the
Earth from solar winds that can strip the planet of its atmosphere. Without our
atmosphere, we will be just like Mars and we won’t have any protection from the
Sun’s ultraviolet rays.
- Isn’t the Earth amazing? Of all the planets
that we’ve seen so far, it’s the only one we know that has Intelligent Life.
Let’s use our intelligence to take care of the planet that we live in. It’s our
home… and right now, it’s the only home we’ve got.
Read more about the Earth and our environment
at The World Counts: Stories.
Find out how we can make our home a better place to live in.