We have a huge moon ... and 5 other reasons why Earth is totally boss.

For the first time since 1972, NASA managed to snap a photo of the entire sunlit side of the Earth.

Photo by NASA.


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).

Yep. Photo by Klearchos Kapoutsis/Flickr.

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.

Photo by Sandpiper Productions/Wikimedia Commons.

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.


Photo by NASA.

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.

Soar like a ... you. Photo via Public Domain Images.

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.

Yeah, I look serene. But are you sure? Best back up, human, before you find out. Photo by Adam Jones/Wikimedia Commons.

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.

"Just try and breathe on me, asshole. See what happens." Photo by NASA.

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.

It's up to us to make sure nothing bad happens to it. Not now, not ever.

'Cause, like, honestly ... just look at it:

Photo by NASA.

Just ... wow.

True

When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

Photo by Tod Perry

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