The Atmosphere

Image Credit: NASA

With 71% of its surface covered by a relatively thin layer of water (some of it frozen), Earth is the only planet in our solar system that appears capable of supporting higher forms of life. In addition to water, the other essential component for supporting life as we know it here on Earth is our unique atmosphere.

Solar System
Image Credit: NASA


The other planets in our solar system have compositions and conditions very different from Earth’s. Venus, for example, has an average temperature of 450°C due to its relatively thick atmosphere consisting mostly of carbon dioxide. Mars has a thin atmosphere with a very small percentage of carbon dioxide, making it much colder than Earth.