We live among a community of other planets that are custom designed to permit life to flourish on Earth. The gas giants in particular play a crucial role in protecting the Earth and in enabling life to emerge at just the the right time. From among the gas giants, Jupiter in particular acts as a giant vacuum cleaner to protect the Earth from life extinguishing impacts from comets and asteroids. This was dramatically seen in July 1994 when Comet Shoemaker Levy impacted Jupiter with dramatic effect (shown in the image above).
Earth is protected from the ravages of high energy solar and cosmic radiation by and incredibly fine balance of factors which combine to provide a protective magnetic bubble. Without this protection, volatile components of the atmosphere, absolutely essential for life, such as water vapor, would be sputtered into the vaccum of space. The magntic field also produces the Van Allen belts which protect the surface of the Earth and it’s life forms from the worst effects of this radiation.
There is more to our home planet than it’s amazing fine tuning for life. It’s also about the type of life that it has been created for. The Earth has been placed in an privileged location in the cosmos at a privileged location in time since the “big-bang” creation event. We could have been located at any place in the Universe in any particular galaxy. Human life has emerged on Earth at a time when the entire cosmos has become visible from our vantage point.
The prevailing scientific evidence shows that the moon was formed some 4.25 billion years ago when a Mars sized planet collided nearly head on with the ancient Earth vaporizing a large part of the two planets and spewing out matter into a space about equal to the present day Earth Moon distance. This matter eventually coalesced to form the Earth and Moon we have today. As an echo of this collision the moon is moving away from the Earth at several centimeters a year.
Life began on earth about 3.86 billion years ago and though the Sun was much colder back then the Earth’s surface temperature was about the same as it is today. The explanation for how the surface of the planet remained at a life sustainable temperature is beautifully simple and elegant but involves a vastly improbable convergence of events.