Why is Earth the only planet in our solar system capable of sustaining life? Why is Earth the only planet in the solar system that has plentiful liquid water and an atmosphere that can protect the planet from the harmful ultra-violet rays of the Sun? What makes Earth so special? These are some of the questions that will be explored in greater detail as we use Comparative Planetology to understand what makes Earth a habitat for life and what makes it so different from the other planets in our solar system.
Earth As Compared to The Other Planets In Our Solar System
If we were to look at Earth as a starting point to compare the other eight planets in our solar system, the first thing we notice from space is the magnificent blue color and swirls of clouds. This is an inviting sight and is the first hint at why life is found on our planet. Earth has many features that the other planets do not have. Earth has many features that make it unique. Earth is made of rock and metal. It is one of the four terrestrial planets and has the largest Moon in the solar system. Earth has abundant volcanic activity because of its size in comparison to the other terrestrial planets. With the abundance of water and oxygen, Earth's atmosphere stays in balance and is able to continue supporting life. The liquid oceans help to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and the presence of a stratosphere helps protect the surface from the deadly ultra-violet rays of the Sun. Another unique feature of Earth is plate tectonics. Plate tectonics acts as giant conveyor belt that moves the mantle of Earth around constantly changing the look of our planet. Although Earth's interior has not been explored nearly as much, scientists can tell about the composition of the deepest regions of Earth by using seismic waves following an earthquake. By reading this seismic data carefully, scientists get a better understanding of interior Earth.
In order to compare our planet to the other...
References: Arnett, B. (2005, February 11). Venus. Retrieved May 15, 2005, from http://nineplanets.org/venus.html
Bennett, J., Donahue, M., Schneider, N., & Voit, M. (2004). Planetary Geology. In A. Black (Ed.), The Cosmic Perspective (3rd ed., pp. 282-283). San Francisco: Addison Wesley.
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