Earth is the largest terrestrial planet in the Solar System, the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to sustain life. It has a mean radius of ~ 6371 km, a mean distance to the Sun of ~ 150 million km and an orbital period of ~ 365 days. Earth is thought to have formed approximately 4.55 billion years ago and has one natural satellite, the Moon. The planet has a differentiated structure consisting of a crust, mantle and core and features plate tectonics. Importantly, Earth harbors abundant liquid water at its surface, most of which can be found in its oceans. The planet is surrounded by an atmosphere that contains ~ 78 % nitrogen (N2), ~ 21 % oxygen (O2) and several other trace gases, including carbon dioxide (CO2) and water vapor (H2O).

Information source: NASA

Image: Earth as seen from space, also known as the Blue Marble. Credit: NASA/NOAA/Reto Stöckli.

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