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Earth Facts that Live Rent-Free in Our Heads

Earth Facts that Live Rent-Free in Our Heads

Earth is a big weird planet. With so much going on, it’s easy to forget some of the many, many processes happening here. But at the same time, some stuff is so unexpected and just plain strange that it’s impossible to forget. We asked around and found out lots of people here at NASA have this problem.

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Here are some facts about Earth that live rent free in our heads:

Earth has a solid inner core that is almost as hot as the surface of the Sun. Earth’s core gets as high as 9,800 degrees Fahrenheit, while the surface of the Sun is about 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Dust from the Sahara fertilizes the Amazon rainforest. 27.7 million tons blow all the way across the Atlantic Ocean to the rainforest each year, where it brings phosphorus – a nutrient plants need to grow.

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Ice in Antarctica looks solid and still, but it’s actually flowing – in some places it flows so fast that scientific instruments can move as much as a kilometer (more than half a mile!) a year.

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Speaking of Antarctica: Ice shelves (the floating part of ice sheets) can be as big as Texas. Because they float, they rise and fall with the tide. So floating ice as big as Texas, attached to the Antarctic Ice Sheet, can rise and fall up to ~26 feet!

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Melting ice on land makes its way to the ocean. As polar glaciers melt, the water sloshes to the equator, and which can actually slow the spin of Earth.

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Even though it looks it, the ocean isn’t level. The surface has peaks and valleys and varies due to changes in height of the land below, winds, temperature, saltiness, atmospheric pressure, ocean circulation, and more.

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Earth isn’t the only mind-blowing place out there. From here, we look out into the rest of the universe, full of weird planets and galaxies that surprise us.

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