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  • Earth is the densest planet in the solar system.

  • Earth is a true sphere but rather a flattened sphere called an oblate spheroid.

  • The vast majority of Earth's atmosphere is composed of nitrogen.

  • Earth's rotation is slowing down by 17 milliseconds every 100 years.

  • 70% of Earth's surface is covered by water. The first life on Earth developed in the oceans through abiogenesis or the evolution of life from non-living matter.

  • Earth has a strong magnetic field due to its nickel-iron core and fast rotation.

  • The asteroid 3753 Cruithne is sometimes called Earth's 'second moon' but it actually follows a horseshoe-like orbit around the sun that only occasionally brings it in close proximity to Earth. Thus, it's said to be co-orbital to Earth.

  • Earth is the only planet known to have life. A recent study suggests that there may be as many as 1 trillion different species on Earth.

  • creature 1
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    One of the most mysterious places on Earth is the Mariana Trench, the deepest point on the planet's surface. Shown here are some of the many bizarre creatures that have evolved to survive in the trench's crushing depths and comeplete darkness.

    blue whale tardigrade
    Life on Earth comes in all shapes and sizes. On the left is the mighty blue whale, the largest and loudest animal of all. On the right is the microscopic tardigrade, a creature so hardy it can survive 30-year starvation, complete desiccation, extreme radiation, a huge temperature range (-458 ° F to 304 ° F), extreme pressure and even the vacuum of space!

    Coral reefs have the most species per unit area of any of Earth's ecosystems. They are also the world's largest living structures.

    At 29,029 feet above sea level, Mt. Everest is the highest peak on Earth.

    Earth's ecosystems are incredibly diverse:

    Oymayakon, Russia. The coldest inhabited place on Earth.

    Hot springs in Dallol, Ethiopia - the hottest inhabited place on Earth. Extremophile microbes have adapted to living in boiling hot, toxic environments such as this sulfur pool.
    The Atacama Desert in Chile is the world's driest place, which, along with the region's high altitude and low light pollution, make it perfect for astronomical research.

    The Moon

    Formed some 4.6 billion years ago, the Moon is Earth's only satellite.

  • The same side of the Moon faces the Earth.

  • The Moon is slowly drifting away from Earth at a rate of 3.8 cm per year. In 50 billion years, the moon will orbit the Earth in 47 days rather than the current 27.3 days.

  • Only 12 people have visited the Moon, all of them American men.

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    Buzz Aldrin walking on the Moon during the Apollo 11 mission. Next to him is a seismograph, which actually confirmed the presence of moonquakes. To the right is the lunar module 'Eagle'.

  • You would weigh only 16.5% of your Earth weight on the Moon.

  • The Moon has no atmosphere, which accounts for its huge temperature variations.

  • The Moon has over 500,000 craters.

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    Close-up of lunar crater Daedalus.


By Aaron Feigenbaum