Monday, September 10, 2007

Earth's atmosphere

Earth's atmosphere is a layer of gases surrounding the planet Earth and retain by the Earth's gravity. It contains roughly (by molar content/volume) 78% nitrogen, 20.95% oxygen, 0.93% argon, 0.038% carbon dioxide; trace amounts of other gases, and a changeable amount (average around 1%) of water vapor. This mixture of gases is usually known as air. The atmosphere protects life on Earth by captivating ultraviolet solar radiation and reducing temperature extremes between day and night.

There is no exact border between the atmosphere and outer space, it slowly becomes thinner and fades into liberty. Three quarters of the atmosphere's mass is within 11 km of the terrestrial surface. In the United States, people who travel above a height of 80.5 km (50 statute miles) are selected astronauts. An altitude of 120 km (400,000 ft) marks the boundary where atmospheric property becomes obvious during re-entry. The Kármán line, at 100 km (328,000 ft), is also often regarded as the boundary between atmosphere and outer space.

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