So how did life on earth start? Well if you know that then you deserve a Nobel Prize rather than just a good mark in your exam. There’s one theory you need to know about though:
This theory says that billions of years ago the earth’s atmosphere was full of hydrogen, nitrogen, ammonia and methane. Lightening struck the earth which caused these gasses to react and form amino acids.
These amino acids then collected in a “primordial soup” – basically a pool of water which life eventually came out of. The amino acids combined in this pool to produce organic matter and eventually living organisms.
It all sounds like something out of a fairy tale but in the 50s Miller and Urey did an experiment where they sealed the above gasses, heated them and applied a charge for a week.
Indeed some amino acids were made…but not as many as are on Earth…so the theory is probably true but only to an extent.
The Earth Has All The Resources We Need!
The Earth’s crust, ocean and atmosphere give us all the minerals and resources we need….we can even fractionally distil air (like crude oil) to get things we need like nitrogen and oxygen. These different products from air can be useful in industrial processes. So how does it work?
- Air is filtered to remove dust
- It’s cooled to about minus 200 degrees
- During cooling water vapour condenses and is removed
- Carbon dioxide freezes and is removes
- The liquid air enters a fractioning column and is heated slowly
- Fractional distillation then separates out the remaining gasses. Liquid oxygen and argon come out together and another column is required to separate them
NOTE: This works because these gasses have different boiling points.
Burning fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere…and this is thought to be having negative side effects:
- Global warming.
- The oceans absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This increase the acidity of the seas which is bad for certain marine life like coral and shellfish. Also it means they may not be able to absorb as much carbon dioxide in future.