We have a huge moon ... and 5 other reasons why Earth is totally boss.
Our planet really is incredible.
For the first time since 1972, NASA managed to snap a photo of the entire sunlit side of the Earth.
It was taken by the Deep Space Climate Observatory satellite, and it's the first time a single shot has captured one entire side of the Earth since the Apollo 17 astronauts took this incredible, iconic picture. It reminds you just what an amazing place our home planet really is.
Don't buy it? Here's a handy, by-no-means exhaustive list of why this random collection of molten space rocks, water, atmosphere, and life is the most incredible planet orbiting our sun.
1. Earth has the biggest moon in the solar system (in relative terms).
Sure, Ganymede, Titan, Io, and Callisto are all larger in total diameter, But compared to Jupiter and Saturn, the planets they orbit, those moons are tiny, insignificant speck-pebbles. Earth, despite its relatively small size, has a freaking huge moon. Just look at that thing. It may be the fifth largest moon in the solar system, but it's by far the largest relative to the size of the planet it orbits.
On the flip side, this might also be why there are no werewolves on other planets.
But sometimes you gotta take the good with the bad.
2. There are rocks on Earth that are over 4 billion years old, and you can touch them.
You have to go to Canada to do it, but you can do it.
That's the Nuvvuagittuq belt in northern Quebec. Some of the rocks there date back 4.28 billion years. Before the first recorded life on Earth. And you can put your hands on them. You can touch something that was around before bacteria.
If you're willing to go to Canada, that is.
3. Earth has birds.
Jupiter might be bigger. Venus might be hotter. But Earth is the only planet in the solar system that is home to a type of creature that flies through the air like an alien superhero.
It is a proven scientific fact that, if we didn't have jobs, 97% of all people would spend 40 hours a week just watching birds fly around and going, "Ooooooohwhoooaaa."
Birds could have decided to evolve on Mercury or Neptune or Saturn. But they didn't. They evolved right here on Earth.
Other planets so jelly.
4. Some lakes on Earth occasionally explode.
Most lakes are pretty boring. 99% of them just kinda sit there ... being lakes. But every once and a while, one will go completely bonkers and let loose with a huge eruption of poison gas, just to keep people and wildlife on their toes.
Unfortunately, this has led to tragedy in the past, when lakes have erupted unexpectedly and without warning. But now experts think that gas can be extracted from them and used to provide electricity homes in areas, like Lake Kivu in Rwanda, where only 20% of homes currently have power. It has the potential to be a game-changing innovation for countries that sorely need it.
Other planets? They don't even have the boring kind of lake, much less the exploding kind. Only on Earth.
5. Earth is the only place where this has ever happened.
Photo // @jimmy_chin A surfer finds some shade during another surreal Indonesian sunset. Looks easy and mellow until you consider the razor shallow reef he's surfing at low tide. @thephotosociety
A photo posted by National Geographic (@natgeo) on
Find some shade, dawg! You're on Earth!
6. Earth is the only planet in the solar system that has ever supported, and probably ever will support, human life.
Look, other planets are great. You can send robots to take pictures on 'em. Measure atmospheric nitrogen levels on 'em. Maybe even walk around on 'em in a spacesuit for a little bit. But you sure as heck can't live on 'em.
Take Mars, for example. Totally solid planet. Definitely top five. But hang out on Mars for even a few seconds, and it will soon turn into the worst day of your life.
In contrast, Earth is pretty much perfect. It's just the right temperature, has just the right amount of fresh water, and has incredible biodiversity. Sometimes it rains but whatever. That's just annoying.
Life didn't just evolve on Earth. Life evolved on Earth multiple times. Asteroid hits and wipes out much of the life? Volcanic eruption scorches life to death? Ice age comes and life freezes its noonies off? Too bad. Life comes the hell back.
No matter how you slice it, Earth is a pretty close-to-ideal place to live. It's our one and only home. And it's going to go on being our one and only home for at least the foreseeable future.
'Cause, like, honestly ... just look at it: