The planet Earth is the 5th largest planet in the Solar System, being 3rd closest to the Sun. Weighing in a massive 5,972,190,000,000,000 billion kg and with a surface temperature of -88 to 58°C, the 4.6 billion year old planet is the largest of the terrestrial celestial bodies. To learn more about the history of the bright blue dot we live in, here are 10 incredible facts coming your way. Enjoy!
Fact 1: The Earth we live in is roughly 4.6 billion years old! The oldest materials discovered being about 4.3 billion year old Zircon crystals. The Earth’s earlier times suggest geologically violent circumstances, with the planet suffering constant bombardment from incoming meteorites. Once the blows stopped, the Earth cooled and its surface solidified into a crust or a layer of the first rocks on Earth.
Fact 2: Life on Earth dates back to 3.8 billion years ago, at the beginning it was with the single-celled prokaryotic species, also known as bacteria. In a span of a billion years multicellular life had evolved; initially with the arthropods, and then eventually the fish, land plants, aquatic plants, forests, and mammals. Homo sapiens did not evolve until 200,000 years ago. Humans have only been around for about 0.004% of the Earth’s entire history.
Fact 3: A period in the Earth’s history known as the Cambrian period gave birth to most of life’s sea creatures, reptiles, and mammals. This monumental growth period and evolution took place 525 million years ago.
Fact 4: A large part of the Earth’s history had dinosaurs in play. In fact, for about 150 million years, they were the most dominant species that roamed the Earth up until extinction. Most theories suggest that it was a cataclysmic event took place, much like a giant meteorite, that ended the dinosaurs’ reign.
Fact 5: Earth may not be the largest of planets within the solar system, but it has the greatest density. The Earth’s average density is approximately 5.52 grams, and that’s per cubic meter. The planet owes a great deal of its density to its metallic core, which is much denser than its crust. The nickel-iron core of the planet, paired with its rapid rotation, makes for one heck of a powerful magnet.
Fact 6: Earth is the only planet that isn’t named after a Roman god or deity. The other seven planets; Venus, Mercury, Jupiter, Mars, and Saturn, were all named after great Roman gods and goddesses. Although this was a practice done during ancient times, the Roman method of naming planets after the gods were retained even after the discovery of Neptune and Uranus.
Fact 7: Once upon a time it was believed that the Earth was once the center of the universe. Because of the way the Sun and the other planets were moving in relation to their point of view, the ancient scientists believed that the Earth remained static while the Sun and other planets orbited around it. Copernicus came along and set things to right, when he postulated that the Sun was in fact the center of the universe.
Fact 8: The Earth’s history is divided into 19 significant geological time periods, namely: the Archean era, Cryogenian era, Ediacaran period, , Cambrian period, Ordovician period, Silurian period, Devonian period, Carboniferous period, Permian period, Triassic period, Jurassic period, Cretaceous period, Palaeocene period, Eocene epoch, Oligocene epoch, Miocene epoch, Pliocene epoch, Pleistocene epoch, and Holocene epoch.
Fact 9: The Earth’s atmosphere is separated into five significant layers that make up the surface, namely: the Troposphere spanning 13 kilometers, the Ozone layer which spans 13-25 kilometers, the Stratosphere which spans 25-50 kilometers, the Mesosphere which spans 50-75 kilometers, and lastly the Thermosphere, which spans a whopping 75-150 kilometers.
Fact 10: Although the Earth’s English name is not derived from any Greek or Roman mythology, the goddess that ruled Earth during ancient Rome was Tellus, also known as the fertile soil. Her Greek counterpart was Gala or terra mater, which means Mother Earth.