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earth as a planet


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what are the terrestrial planets
the four planets in the inner solar system . . . Mercury, Venus, Earth, & Mars . . . they have a similar size and density. Earth is largest of the four.
what is a planet
A nonluminous celestial body larger than an asteroid or comet, illuminated by light from a star, such as the sun, around which it revolves. In our solar system there are nine known planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.
how does the earth rotate
When viewed from Earth's north pole, the rotation of Earth, is counterclockwise.
what is the solar terminator
On the face of the moon, the dark part is separated from the light part by the solar terminator.
what is an oblate spheroid
The earth is not completely spherical . . . it bulges out a bit at the equator and is slightly flattened at the poles.
It’s generally accepted by scientists that the planet earth formed about ____ billion years ago, and shortly afterwards ( ____ billion years ago) developed its single natural satellite, the Moon.
multiple choice
4.6, 4.5
Who was Gaia (or Gaea)
The Greek goddess of the earth, who bore and married Uranus and became the mother of the Titans and the Cyclopes
how much larger is the earth than the moon
the earth's equator is four times the size of the moon's equator
The earth’s biosphere (the layer of living things above, on, and within the earth’s surface) began developing about ______ years ago.
what branch of science studies the possibility of extraterrestrial life?
exobiology;exo = out
xenobiology; xeno = strange
what is panspermia
Panspermia is the hypothesis that the seeds of life are common in the universe, and furthermore that life on Earth began by such seeds landing on Earth and propagating themselves. Panspermia can be said to be either interstellar (between star systems) or interplanetary (between planets in the same solar system). There is as yet no compelling evidence to support or contradict it.
what is a gas giant planet
A large planet that is not composed mostly of rock or other solid matter. Gas giants may still have a rocky or metallic core—in fact, it is expected that such a core is probably required for a gas giant to form—but the majority of its mass is in the form of gas (or gas compressed into a liquid state). Unlike rocky planets, gas giants do not have a well-defined surface.
what is an extrasolar planet
An extrasolar planet (or exoplanet) is a planet which orbits a star other than our sun . . . it belongs to a solar system other than our solar system. They were first discovered in the mid-1990's. Probably 200 extrasolar planets are documented today.
what is the giant impact theory
The giant impact theory (or Big Splash or Big Whack)is the now dominant scientific theory for the formation of the Moon, which is thought to have formed as a result of a collision between the young Earth and a Mars-sized body sometimes called Theia. Theia is the hypothetical planet that, according to the giant impact theory of the Moon's formation, collided with the Earth over four billion years ago. This impact at a glancing angle would have destroyed Theia, its iron core burying itself within the primordial Earth.
Evidence for this impact comes from rocks collected during the Apollo Moon landings.
what is the water cycle
The continuous cycle in which water evaporates from the sea into the atmosphere, where it later condenses and falls back to the land as rain and snow, etc, when it either evaporates straight back into the atmosphere or runs back into the sea by rivers.
why doesn't the water cycle operate on the moon
there is no water on the Moon
what is sublimation
a solid changes into a vapor without doing through the liquid state. For example, ice going DIRECTLY to water vapor without going through a liquid phase.
what is the carbon cycle
a sequence of reactions in which carbon as a free element, or carbon in compounds,or both, are exchanged between living organisms and their non-living environment.
what is the rock cycle
one type of rock (igneous, sedimentary, or metamorphic) changes into another type of rock.
what are two types of igneous rock
intrusive and extrusive
how do intrusive igneous rocks form
magma cools underground without reaching the earth's surface
how do extrusive igeneous rocks form
lava cools aboveground or underwater once it reaches the earth's surface
what is sedimentary rock
rock resulting from the consolidation (bonding together) of sediment (pieces)
what are clastic sedimentary rocks
rocks made of pieces (clasts) cemented together
what are non-clastic sedimentary rocks
rocks made of chemical precipitates formed by evaporation or chemical processes underwater or above ground
what are metamorphic rocks
"changed rock" . . . the process of changing the chemicals or minerals in a rock because of heat and pressure below the surface of the Earth
how are metamorphic rocks exposed on the surface of the earth
erosion uncovers them by wearing away the land above them
why don't all metamorphic rocks make it to the surface of the earth
some metamorphic rocks are never seen above ground because they are never uncovered by weathering and erosion or they are forced down so deeply into subduction zones that they melt and turn into magma T
what role does plate tectonics play in the rock cycle
it is the driving force recycling ocean floors into magma,lava, and igneous rock which can be eroded
does the rock cycle operate on the moon
no because there are no agents of erosion on the moon and no crustal plates to move and interact
why might the earth be a unique place for life
earth's atmosphere and distance from the Sun provide "just the right" temperature and chemicals to support life
why is it important to have seasons in temperate zones of climate
life is encouraged to spread out between both hemispheres of the earth and over the whole globe (in fact)

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