Get the dirt on our planet and what makes it so awesome.
1. The planet is one big party.
Photograph by vkbhat, iStockphoto
Earth is the only planet in our galaxy that can support life. Scientists estimate that Earth is home to about 300,000 plant species, over 600,000 species of fungi, and about ten million animal species. Guess you could say we’re the life of the party.
2. Earth has a superpower—it sports an invisible shield.
Photograph courtesy NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Earth is surrounded by a cloud of gas called the plasmasphere. This cloud interacts with rings of particles that also surround the planet to create an invisible shield. The “armor” deflects superfast electrons that zip through space and could harm Earth if they were able to enter the atmosphere.
3. This planet is into recycling.
Photograph by Ang Wee Heng John, Dreamstime
The ground you walk on is recycled. It starts off as sizzling-hot magma deep within the planet’s core. This is pushed up to the surface, where it cools and becomes hard rock. Winds erode the rock, shaving off tiny fragments that get buried back into the earth, where they’re reheated into magma. Then the cycle starts again. Good to know Earth is so green.
4. Earth is in the perfect position.
Photograph by theowl84, iStockphoto
Earth spins around a tilted axis, or an imaginary line that runs through the planet from the South Pole to the North Pole. If the planet were angled any differently, or if Earth were even just a little closer to or farther from the sun, temperatures would shift drastically. And that would make life here impossible.
5. Our planet is a mystery.
Photograph by Pniesen, Dreamstime
About 95 percent of the Earth’s oceans (which make up more than 70 percent of the planet) remain unexplored. Scientists estimate almost a million undiscovered species could live in these unseen seas. Some lands, like parts of the rain forests in New Guinea, are also uncharted. This means that many things on Earth have yet to be discovered.
Text by April Capochino Myers