What Is Planet Earth?

Earth is a planet and home to us all! It is known as a rocky planet as it has mountains, volcanoes, oceans and rivers. It is made up of 70% water (or sea) and the rest of the surface is land – which is what we all live on. Our planet is 1 of 8 in our solar system. They all orbit The Sun, a HUGE star, meaning they go around it in a big circle every year. 

The order of the planets is…

Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.

We can remember this order by using a simple rhyme:

‘My Very Energetic Monkey Jumps Sideways Until Night-time’ with the first letter of every word standing for a planet.

Mercury, Venus, Mars and Earth are rocky planets. Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune are gaseous planets. This means they are made up of huge amounts of gas and you can’t land on them in your spaceship. You can land on rocky planets though and astronauts are currently trying to make up a plan of getting to Mars in the 2030s. Right now, there are lots of little robots on Mars taking photos and collecting rocks so that scientists can learn more about the planet. They look super cool!

The closer a planet is to The Sun the hotter it is! This means that Mercury is the hottest planet to visit with temperatures reaching 167 degrees celsius. That is hotter than water boils in your kettle! Because it’s so hot we’ll never be able to send anyone there to explore. Neptune is the coldest planet as it is the farthest away from The Sun and temperatures most days are around -200 degrees celsius!

Let’s learn more about Earth…

Earth is the 3rd planet from The Sun meaning we have the perfect temperature for humans, animals and plants to live in. Scientists that study rocks called geologists have managed to find out that our planet is very very old. They estimate that it has been around for 4.5 billion years!

Earth is the only planet in our solar system that has oxygen – which is a gas we need to breathe. No other planet has humans or animals on it because of this. It is also the only planet that has water on its surface which we also need to survive. 

A day on Earth lasts 24 hours and a year lasts 365 days. A day really means that the planet has spun around once, so all of the planets’ days will last different amounts of time. A year is the time it takes for a planet to go around The Sun once, which means all planets have different lengths of time equalling a year.

Earth is the only planet to have only 1 moon. Jupiter has 80! Our moon lights the sky up at night. It is really a big, white rock that floats in space and at night-time The Sun’s energy reflects onto it meaning we have a light source even when it’s dark. The Sun never ‘turns off’ or goes dark, it is always shining. The reason we have night-time is because the piece of land we are on turns away from The Sun while it’s spinning meaning it’s dark for usually around 12 hours. When morning comes we have turned back around to face it meaning it’s bright again. 

We also have lots of satellites floating up in space around our planet. They help scientists to predict our weather, give us phone and TV signals and help us to fly on holiday in big planes. They have allowed us to learn lots and lots about where we live and lots of photos have been taken from up in space. We know what our planet looks like from these pictures. The white shapes are clouds which is what helps us understand our weather. The green shapes are land and the huge blue area is the sea. The piece of land in the photo shows a continent called North America.

Earth’s Makeup

All of the land on our planet is on a layer of the Earth called the crust. The crust is made up of lots of hard rock which forms the ground, mountains, valleys, volcanoes and hills. Below this layer, it is very hot and lots of liquid rock flows beneath it. This layer is called the mantle. Further inside the planet is the outer and inner core. These are huge spheres made of very hot metals called nickel and iron. These metals are what controls the north and south pole of our planet and its magnetic field. They are the reason a compass you use with a map on a hike will point north.

Fun Facts About Planet Earth

  • Earth is sometimes called the Ocean Planet by scientists because of how much water we have on it.
  • Earth is 93 million miles away from The Sun!
  • While we have lots and lots of water on our planet only 3% of it is fresh. The rest is salty!
  • The word ‘earth’ means ground in German.
  • The hot liquid rock in the core of the Earth is hotter than The Sun!