Skinner, Brian J. Department of Geology and Geophysics, Kline Geology Laboratory, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.
Last reviewed:November 2016
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- Orbital motion
- Size, shape, mass, and density
- Internal structure
- Mechanical layering
- Crustal structures and surface features
- Plate tectonics
- Additional Readings
The third planet from the Sun and the largest of the four inner, or terrestrial, planets. The Sun is an average-sized, middle-aged star situated in the Milky Way Galaxy. So far as is known, Earth is unique in the solar system in having life (Fig. 1). Whether life exists in the universe beyond the solar system is unknown. However, there are planets in orbit around many nearby stars, so of the possibility exists for Earth-like planets in the universe where life may yet be discovered. See also: Galaxy, external; Milky Way Galaxy; Planet; Solar system; Star; Sun; Universe
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