How earth survived through billion years?
I have always been fascinated by life on earth and on other planets. This not so simple term “life” has deep and unimaginable meaning. Having thought about life and how an organism survives, it’s incredible to note that earth has around 8.7 species of plants and animals. Personally, it’s difficult to digest. If I may ask you how many species are you familiar with or to name them, what would you answer? Probably in hundreds or less. Out of 8.7 million estimated species by scientists, a total number of 1.2 million species have been found till now. Now, you’re wondering where could the other species probably be.
Humans have dominated planet Earth for thousands of years, still, we are not familiar with half of the species present on this diverse and conglomerate planet Earth. I have endless questions and thoughts about life on earth and on other planets and I am sure so do you. Going through a lot of published articles and books, the best answers I could find to some of my questions are worth sharing with my readers.
The very first question that comes to our mind is How Earth has managed to remain habitable and full of life over millions of years or why the earth has not fallen into a complete inhabitable state for over 3 billion years? This question truly fascinates our attention to geology.
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We are well aware of the fact that life has existed on earth way before humans existed. From the ancient period where only dinosaurs survived to this period where homo sapiens rules, earth has provided all living beings be it plants or animals an environment to breathe.
A study has been gazetted in the Natures General Communication Earth and Environmental spoke and passed views and ] ratiocinate how Earth has always remained livable for most of the time it existed and no traces of doubt is seen about any approaching end. Professor Toby Tyrell from the University of Southampton has come with an answer to this question. He believes that survival has a lot to do with serendipity and fortune.
Knowing that Earth has gone through a series of extreme climates. It has well-seen numerous excruciating ice ages along with burning high temperatures periods in ancient history. It is no less than a miracle Earth is still surviving. A planet’s climate can be impacted by a lot of different things. It could be asteroid impacts, which we know from the event at the end of the cretaceous had a large impact on the planet’s climate. When supervolcanoes erupt such as underneath Yellowstone have a very strong influence on the environment. It could also be an asteroid crossing the earth’s atmosphere and other factors through which it seems like survival is impossible and it seems unbelievable to remain habitable for living beings.
A continuously stable environment is perplexing when we look at other planets. Our neighbors Mars, Venus does not have a habitat that could be lived upon, although Planet Mars was habitable at a point in time but couldn’t maintain those conditions. But, Earth has managed to remain habitable for billion years altogether which is an extraordinary and preternatural arch of Cenozoic time.
Tyrell believes that luck has played an immense role in our survival, or on a greater perspective Earth’s survival. To attain a better understanding of this phenomenon, Tyrell modeled some simulations on External planets in our milky way galaxy that are quite similar to Planet Earth. He desired to witness how distinct planets would react to random and stochastic climate changes like temperature change, solar flares, asteroid attacks, etc. the major target was to apprehend and grasp knowledge about the planet’s way to manage and remain habitable keeping their conditions stable.
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This resulted in clear findings. Many of the planets that have remained habitable throughout time had a mere chance of remaining livable. Of 100,000 planets that were simulated, 9% of the planets stayed habitable over 3 billion years at once. After looking at these simulations, it can be understood that Earth has remained suitable for a long time, considering the role of luck. For example, if a slightly bigger asteroid would have struck earth, more than a few times, the earth could have lost its essence of life in a few years.
Some facts prove that Earth is incredibly lucky. Some facts including constant gravity, protective magnetic field, deep blue seas, stable rotation, a great satellite in the form of a dazzling Moon, prove that Earth has been fortunate enough to nurture all the forms of life.
It is also possible that other planets had a life once before Earth existed. One barely knows how Universe works and the period it has existed till now. All we can do is carry simulations to get better insights into the actual phenomenon. There existed life on mars once, but for how long, was it million years or billion years, it can only be assumed.
EARTH will remain habitable for millions of years, nothing is predictable although.