The story of Earth's atmosphere

The story of Earth's atmosphere

The Earth was formed 4.5 billion years ago. If you have ever wondered how it went from a hot, inhospitable hellscape to the lush green and blue home we have today, you are in luck. PBS and NOVA have released “Ancient Earth: Birth of the Sky”.

By studying the rocks beneath our feet, meteorites and areas of the planet that mimic early Earth conditions, scientists are collecting clues about how the world as we know it came to be. Among the scientists interviewed is Assistant Professor of Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Science Rita Parai. Parai’s lab is the High Temperature Isotope Geochemistry Lab in Rudolph Hall. With chemical data extracted from rock that is billions of years old, Parai can gather evidence of what our early atmosphere may have been like.

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The co-evolution of Earth’s atmosphere and life on Earth is a rich and exciting story that scientists are still putting together. Watch Parai and other experts use scientific clues to tell the tale of our atmosphere’s origins.

NOVA’s “Ancient Earth: Birth of the Sky” will premiere on PBS Wednesday October 4th, 2023 at 8PM Central. You can also access the video via this link: