Evolution Encyclopedia Vol. 1
THE CREATOR'S HANDIWORK: THE EARTH
Although many of its ecosystems were damaged by the worldwide Genesis Flood, yet our planet remains wonderfully designed for living. Later, in chapter 19, we will learn more about the effects of the deluge. But now, for a few moments, let us consider some of the many factors that make our world so livable. Because entire volumes could be written on this topic, we will briefly focus our attention on three topics: atmosphere, water, and soil.
1 - THE ATMOSPHERE
Ours has been called the "water planet;" it is also the "air planet." These are two special qualities about our world that are not to be found on any of the other planets in our solar system.
The air surrounding our world is called the atmosphere. Air has no color, smell, or taste, yet without it there could be no living plants or animals on the earth. People are known to have survived more than a month without food, and more than a week without water. But without air they die within a few minutes.
Without air, there would be no weather. We could have no wind, and no storms which bring us much-needed water. Without wind there would be no movement of the trees and plants and our world would be very still. It would also be silent, for without air we could hear almost nothing. Most sound travels through the air (although some travels through rock, metal, and water.) Sound cannot travel in a vacuum.
Without air, birds could not fly. Air provides resistance to motion, and it is this resistance which enables birds and planes to fly through the air. Without air, there would be no clouds. The sky would maintain a dreary blankness day after day. The sky would not be blue; instead it would be black.
Air is composed of several invisible gases. About 98 percent of those gases are nitrogen and oxygen. Two-tenths of all the air is composed of oxygen (21 percent). Without oxygen we could not survive, for we need it continually in our blood and tissues. Plants would quickly die without it also. They need it just as they need carbon dioxide.
But eight tenths of the air is seemingly useless to us; it is nitrogen (78 percent). Surely, it must have a purpose also; everything else does. Actually, it is invaluable. Oxygen is combustible; that is, it can be set on fire and burn. If there were no nitrogen in the atmosphere, the world would have burned up as soon as the first fire had been ignited by lightning, or the first two flinty rocks striking one another had sparked. Even iron would have burned. We have cause to be very thankful for the nitrogen in the air around us.
The remaining 1 percent of air consists almost entirely of the gas argon. But there are also small amounts of neon, helium, krypton, xenon, hydrogen, ozone, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane gases.
All those various gases are invisible. What if they were even slightly opaque? Our world would be totally dark. The gloom of eternal night would be upon us, even though the sun shined brightly overhead. Ocean water looks fairly clear, but 200 feet [61 m] down, the sunlight is nearly gone, and 300 feet [91 m] down darkness prevails. The atmosphere over our heads is hundreds of miles deep and covers all the earth. If the gases in it were not transparent, we would all live in perpetual darkness. The world would be ice cold. The warming rays of the sun would be blocked out before reaching us. The tiny photosynthesis factories contained within each plant leaf could not operate. No food would be produced, and all the plants and animals would die.
There is also some dust in the air. This is what provides us with beautiful sunset colors on the clouds and in the sky. A cubic inch of air normally has about 100,000 solid particles. The air over the mid-Pacific has about 15,000, and the air above large cities has 5 million particles per square inch.
There are other things in the air also: salt from the ocean, pollen from plants, floating microbes, and ash from meteors which burned upon hitting our atmosphere. There is also water vapor in the atmosphereand that vapor is vitally important; without it we would quickly perish! It is part of the water cycle. But more on that in the next section of this chapter.
Because air has weight, we have barometric pressure, wind movement; and air resistance. The weight of all the air in the world is about 5 quadrillion tons (That is a 5 with 15 zeros after it). The weight of the air in a pint [.47 l] jar is about that of a small capsule or an aspirin tablet. The greatest air pressure is found at the earth's surface, where it averages about 15 pounds [6.8 km] pressing down on every square inch [2.54 sq. cm]. The amount of air pressing down on your shoulders is about 1 ton (1 short ton is 2,000 lbs. [907 km]). Fortunately, you do not feel this weight because it is pressing on you from all sides.
Without air, we could not have weather, and without weather conditions there could be no rain. The sun causes air to move by heating it. The warm air rises upward into the colder areas above itand clouds form. Sideways pushing and shoving of the warm and cold air against one another causes more turbulence. But what causes rain? We will consider that shortly.
Did you know that there are "air tides" as well as ocean tides? Movements of the earth in relation to the moon and sun cause ocean tides, but the gravity from the moon and sun causes air tides also. This means that plants and people weigh a little less when the moon is overhead.
What can be slower than air? Actually, few things are faster! Although air may appear to move slowly most of the time, the air molecules within it travel at extremely rapid speeds. The warmer the air, the faster the molecules move. At freezing temperature they are really "slow" only moving at about 1,085 miles [1,746 km] an hour! That is 1 1/2 times faster than the speed of sound at freezing temperatures.
The exosphere is the highest layer of air above us and starts at about 300 miles [482.7 km] up. There is hardly any air at that height. Below that is the ionosphere,' which is 50 to 300 miles [80.4482.7 km] above the earth. Electrically-charged ions found in this part of the atmosphere protect us from solar winds and other radiation entering from outer space. The beautiful aurora borealis, or northern lights, glows in this region. The bottom of the ionosphere bounces radio waves back to earth. Without the ionosphere, most radio communications would be virtually impossible. The ionosphere is important for its shielding effect from solar rays and meteors. Without the atmosphere the thousands of meteors which arrive regularly would strike the earth, destroying animal life and vegetation.
Below the ionosphere is the very important stratosphere, which extends from about 7 miles to about 50 miles [11.26 to 80.4 km] above us. This is where the ozone layer is found. Without that blanket of ozone, ultraviolet rays from the sun would quickly destroy all life on earth. This is also the highest warming layer of the atmosphere. As the sun's rays strike the ozone, it warms it. The ozone layer helps warm the entire planet. It is about 12 to 21 miles [19.3 to 33.8 km] up, and the warm layer is just above it. Below the ozone layer, the stratosphere is cold (about -67F [-55] over the U.S.), but without the ozone layer it would be far colder! The upper stratosphere in the warm layer about 30 miles [48 km] above the ground, the temperature is about 30F [-1 C].
The troposphere is of extreme importance, for this is where the clouds are, and where our rain comes from. This region extends from the surface up to about 7 miles [11.26 km], but varies with weather conditions. Every thousand feet [3,048 dm] you go upward through the troposphere, the temperature drops about 3-4F. The troposphere is the region where weather occurs; above it there are neither clouds nor storms. Above the north and south poles, it ends about 5 miles [8 km] up; above the equator, it ends about 10 miles [16 km] above the earth's surface.
Air helps to make soil because it contains oxygen, carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and moisture. The oxygen, carbon dioxide, and water combine with the chemical elements in the rocks. Along with plant, wind, and water action, this causes the rocks to decay and break down into small particles.
Without air, plants would quickly die. Air is absorbed and used throughout the plant. Without air in the soil a plant cannot survive. Even the Florida cypress (one of only two trees in the world which can have its roots permanently submerged) grows "knobs" which stick above the surface of the swamp in order to take in air.
Human beings would also die without that air. All the cells in our bodies must have oxygen. They use it to change food into energy. When you breathe, air enters your lungs. The blood stream takes oxygen from the air in the lungs and carries it to all parts of your body. Fresh air also makes us feel more comfortable, for it removes the warm, damp blanket of air next to our skin. People who work in the open air, or who know to keep their houses properly ventilated are much healthier and live longer.
Fresh air also has negative ions, which are important in the maintenance of good health.
CLICK TO ENLARGE
2 - WATER
Another marvelous substance is water which, when pure, is also colorless, odorless, and tasteless. There is a lot of rock and other material beneath our feet, but covering the surface of the planet there is more water than anything else. Seventy percent of earth's surface is water. Without it, nothing could live. Your body is about two-thirds water.
There is a million million gallons of water in a cubic mile of ocean (that is 1 with 12 zeros after it). Of the 326 million cubic miles [524,631,800 c km] of water on earth, much of it (97 percent) is in the oceans, but there are also large amounts beneath our feet. The upper half-mile [.8 km] of the earth's crust contains about 3,000 times as much water as all the rivers of earth. Only about 3 percent of the earth's water is fresh. About three-fourths of that fresh water is frozen in glaciers and icecaps. There is as much frozen water as flows in all the rivers in 1,000 years.
We can be thankful that so much water is frozen! If it were to melt, all the seaports of the world would be below the ocean's surface, and much of the continental coastal areas would be lost to us also.
All living things contain lots of water. It is truly the element of life. Your body is about 65 percent water the same as a mouse. An elephant and an ear of corn is about 70 percent; a chicken is 75 percent water; a potato, earthworm, and pineapple are 80 percent; a tomato is 95 percent; a watermelon about 97 percent.
You can live a month without food, but only a week without water. A person that loses more than 20 percent of his normal water content becomes over-dehydrated and dies a painful death. Each of us must take in about 2 1/2 quarts [2.4 l] of water each day in water and food. On the average, a person takes in about 16,000 gallons [605 hl] of water during his lifetime.
Plants, animals, and people must have a daily inflow of nutrients. Water dissolves those nutrients so they can be carried throughout the body in the blood stream, taken through cell walls, and utilized by the body. The chemical reactions can only take place in a fluid environment. We are here briefly describing processes which are so utterly complex that mankind still has only the barest understanding of them.
Water is needed to grow plants. It requires 115 gallons [435 l] of water to grow enough wheat to bake a loaf of bread. To produce 1 pound [3.7853 l) of potatoes takes 500 pounds [1,892.6 l] of water. About 41 percent of all water used in the United States is for irrigation.
A larger amount, 52 percent, is used to keep the factories going. Without water much of the manufacturing would stop. It takes 65,000 gallons [2,460 hl] to make a ton [.9072 mt] of steel; 10 gallons [37.85 l] to refine a gallon [3.753 l] of gasoline; 250 tons [226.8 mt] to produce a ton [.9072 mt] of paper. In industry, it is especially used to clean, liquidize, but, most of all, to cool.
Without water mankind could accomplish little, much less survive long. Yet it is all based on the water cycle. Water evaporates from oceans, lakes, and rivers. Taken up into the air, it falls as fairly pure water in the form of rain or snow. About 85 percent of the water vapor in the air comes from the oceans. Plants also add moisture to the air. After water is drawn up from the ground through the roots, it passes up to the leaves where it exits as vapor. A typical tree gives off about 70 gallons [265 l] of water a day, and an acre [.4047 ha] of corn gives off about 4,000 gallons [151 hl] a day. This continual drawing of water from the roots up through the stems, trunk, and through the leaves gives torgor (stiffness) to the plants. Without it, they would wilt, become flabby and die.
The oxygen and water given off by plants is part of the reason why you feel more refreshed near plants than in a desert or on a city street.
Water can be a solid, a liquid, or a gas. No other substance appears in these three forms within the earth's normal range of temperature.
Nearly every substance in the world expands as it warms and contracts as it cools. But water is different: As it cools, it continues to contract, and then, a few degrees before it freezes at 32F [0C],it begins expanding. As it continues to cool, it continues to expand. For this reason, ice is lighter in weight than an equal amount of water. So the ice floats on water, instead of sinking into it and filling all the lakes and rivers with solid ice in the winter. Because ice expands, the ice sheet on the surface of a pond pushes sideways and lock against the banks on either side. Below it, the water continues to remain liquid and the ice insulates the water from becoming too cold and freezing also. If it were not for this cooling expansion factor, no plants, fish, frogs, or any other wildlife could survive a winter in rivers and lakes where freezing occurs.
It is a miracle that water is liquid at livable temperatures. Other substances (such as H2Te, H2Se, and H2S) which are similar to water (H20), are gases at normal temperature, and do not change into water until the temperature falls to -148 to -130F [-100C to -90C]! As their formulas show, they are very similar to water, each having two atoms of hydrogen, but, instead of an atom of oxygen, they have an atom of tellurium, selenium, or sulfur. If water was like them, there would only be steam; no water, no water vapor, no clouds, no snow, and no ice.
Still another amazing quality of water is the fact that, between the time it begins to boil and when it turns to steam,it stores so much energy as it is heated. When water reaches 212F [100C], it does not immediately turn to steam, but instead there is a pause, during which the water absorbs additional heat without any rise in temperature. This heat is called latent heat. More than five times as much heat is required to turn boiling water into steam as to bring freezing water to a boil. Thus, steam holds a great amount of latent heat energy. Because of that fact, steam can be used to operate machinery.
Water vapor also has a tremendous amount of latent heat energy. This energy is released when the vapor cools, condenses, and falls as rain. The high latent heat of water is related to its remarkable heat capacity. Heat capacity is the ability of a substance to absorb and hold heat without itself becoming warmer. Water can do this better than any other substance in the world, except ammonia!
For example: If three solid substances (gold, ice [frozen water], and iron) were placed at the temperature of absolute zero, which is -460F [273.3C; 0K]. (Absolute zero is the theoretical temperature where a substance contains no heat of any kind.), and then all three substances were heated, making sure that all three were receiving (absorbing) the same amount of heat,when that point was reached where the gold melted at 2016F (-1138C],the ice would still be -300F [-184.4C]! If additional heat were equally applied to the ice and iron, when the iron began to melt at 2370F (-1334C], the ice would finally have reached 32F [-0C]!
Another example: take two cooking pots and put nothing in the first (make sure it is a worthless pot!) and fill the second with water, set both on two fires on the stove. Very quickly, the second will get extremely hot and may turn red. At the same time, the water in the second pot will only be starting to get warm! It had been absorbing heat energy without itself changing much in temperature.
This ability of water to absorb heat or lose heat without itself hardly changing temperature is an amazing quality. It is for this reason that the oceans can store large amount of heat and keep the planet warmer without that water turning to steam. Conversely, the water can give up a lot of heat before it turns to ice. For the same reason, fish and plants can over-winter in lakes, ponds, and rivers without freezing, and they can go through the summer without the water boiling them to death!
Water has powerful dissolving ability. It can dissolve almost any substance, including some of the hardest rocks. It also dissolves the nutrients that plants and animals need for nourishment. Dissolving the nutrients in soil, it carries them to plant roots, and thence up through the plant to cells within the plants. It also dissolves the food that animals and people eat. Within the body, it carries those nutrients to each cell, and then carries off wastes.
This solvent quality enables you to wash things with water. How would you like to take a bath in turpentine, kerosene, paint thinner, or cleaning solvent? Water cleans best and does it without injury.
Capillary action is the ability of a liquid to climb up a surface against the pull of gravity. Because of this, water is drawn up from the roots into the tops of trees hundreds of feet in the air. The capillarity of water helps pull it through the soil, through plants, and through body tissues as well.
Surface tension is the ability of a substance to stick to itself and pull itself together. Water has one of the highest surface tensions of any substance. Because of this, water forms into drops; it is actually clinging together! Water molecules cling together so tightly that insects can walk on it. This tension is also a sticking factor. It makes water able to stick to things and wet them. In doing this, it can dissolve substances and then transport them to another location.
3 - SOIL
The ground beneath your feet has a lot more mysteries and marvels to it than you might think. In chapter 5 (Origin of the Earth), we learned that there is a thick layer of granite beneath all the continents. This granite gives rigidity to the continental masses, and is the foundation upon which rests the sedimentary strata, laid down by the Flood. This granite also provides a base on top of which are underground river channels, various pockets of minerals, petroleum, etc. Still farther up is to be found the soil which is close to the surface. Air, water, ice, roots, flood, and glaciers all work to crumble the rocks near the surface. Plant and animal remains, and body wastes, add to the mixture, and soil is the result.
When plants die, they decay and form humus, an organic material that makes the soil more fertile. Animal remains add to the humus. Bacteria in the soil help the plants decay. Animals that burrow in the soil help mix it.
An extremely valuable creature is the earthworm. It swallows soil as it burrows, chews it up, and excretes it again. The result is a finely pulverized soil. Earthworms feed on dead plant material in the soil. The worms help break down the humus the decaying matter in the soil. The necessary air for plant growth enters the soil through the burrows made by the earthworms.
The topsoil is the best soil for growing plants. It is seldom more than a foot deep [30.5 cm]. below is the subsoil, which may be 2-3 feet ]61-91 cm] deep. This is not as rich, for the earthworms and microbes have not worked it over, and it lacks the humus.
The ideal soil is structured so that each grain is not entirely separate, but sticks together with others in small crumbs. Humus is valuable in helping the soil stick together in this way. A good soil texture is one in which particles are not too small (clay) or too large (sand, pebbles, or small rocks). The best soils will be a mixture of sand, clay, or silt without too much of either, plus a good amount of humus.
There are small creatures, bacteria (also called microzyma) which live in the soil and help condition it.
As the evening cools, dew forms on the plants and ground and waters the earth. Plants reach their roots down into the ground and tap underground water. But the earth has been damaged. The aerial and underground watering system was partially deranged at the time of the Flood. Another problem was deposition by flood waters of sections of clay, sand, exposed rock, gravel, and calcite, iron, selenium and other beds. Soils may lack calcium or have too much (and thus be too acid or alkali).
When too much rain falls, erosion results as soil is carried off. Rain also leaches the soil, taking nutrients downward into the ground. But while the top layer is
leached by rainwater, minerals in the rock beneath it can be reached by plant and tree roots, which draw up more nutrients. In addition, humus can be built up by falling leaves and stalks, and by man as he works with the soil.
The result is garden plants containing the nutrients needed for life. We plant, tend, harvest, and eat the plants and obtain the vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, and proteins needed for the sustenance of life. We drink the water from the skies, and bathe our bodies in it. The sunlight falls upon us and deepens our health. Amid all the work, we grow stronger. It is all part of a good plan by One who looked upon the world when it was first made and declared, "It is good."
CLICK TO ENLARGE
4 - CONCLUSION
In air, water, and soil we see basic provisions for life on our planet. It is true that the Flood damaged the soil and inundated much of the world with oceans. But in and through it all a careful plan is revealed, so that plants, animals, and man can live in our world. Yes, it takes work, but work was given to mankind as a blessing.
The promise has been given that someday the earth will be restored to the Edenic beauty it had before the Flood. But even now we have many good things. This world was designed for plants, animals, and people to live. The arrangement did not come about by chance. Too many factors are involved, and if even one was missing, life could not exist here.
Recent scientific studies have disclosed that if the sun had been just a little closer or farther away from our planet, no life could survive. Scientists have discovered that if the Earth was only one percent closer to the sun, or one percent farther away from it, we would all quickly perish!
If the earth's magnetic outer barrier did not exist, solar winds and other radiation would render it impossible for anyone to live. If the oceans did not exist after the Flood, not enough rainfall could fall on the continents. Without broad oceans there would not be enough oxygen, since small ocean plants called plankton make most of it. Without the ability of water to absorb and retain heat--plus the great ocean currents--much of the world's continental areas would be too hot or cold to live in. We cannot drink seawater, and without winds and storms we could not have rain, rivers, lakes, and countless other blessings.
Yes, our world was designed for people, animals, and plants. A molten mass cooling down (such as is theorized by evolutionists as earth's beginnings), could not have produced the intricate arrangement that makes possible the web of life we now see about us on planet Earth.
THE VIEW FROM SPACE
Western astronauts and Soviet cosmonauts have had an opportunity to see the earth from outer space. All who have done so have been awed by the sight. Here are a few selected quotations from men who have had an unusual opportunity to realize how wonderfully designed is our planet.
"Space is so close: It took only eight minutes to get there and twenty to get back."Wubbo Ockels, in Kevin W. Kelley, The Home Planet (1988) [Netherlands].
"There is a clarity, a brilliance to space that simply doesn't exist on earth, even on a cloudless summer's day in the Rockies, and nowhere else can you realize so fully the majesty of our Earth and be so awed at the thought that it's only one of untold thousands of planets."Gus Grissom, Gemini: A Personal Account of Man's Venture into Space (19678) (USA].
"The sun truly 'comes up like thunder,' and it sets just as fast. Each sunrise and sunset lasts only a few seconds. But in that time you see at least eight different bands of color come and go, from a brilliant red to the brightest and deepest blue. And you see sixteen sunrises and sixteen sunsets every day you're in space. No sunrise or sunset is ever the same."Joseph Allen, "Joe's Odyssey," in Omni, June 1983, p. 63 [USA].
"We entered into shadow. Contact with Moscow was gone. Japan floated by beneath us and I could clearly see its cities ablaze with lights. We left Japan behind to face the dark emptiness of the Pacific Ocean. No moon. Only stars, bright and far away. I gripped the handle like a man hanging onto a streetcar. Very slowly, agonizingly, half an hour passed, and with that, dawn on Earth.
"First, a slim greenish-blue line on the farthest horizon turning within a couple of minutes into a rainbow that hugged the Earth and in turn exploded into a golden sun. You're out of your mind, I told myself, hanging onto a ship in space, and to your life, and getting ready to admire a sunrise. "Valeri Ryumin, 176 Days in Space: A Russian Cosmonaut's Private Diary And an Incredible Human Document, p. 15 [USSR].
"Firefly meteorites blazed against a dark background, and sometimes the lightning was frighteningly brilliant. Like a boy, I gazed open-mouthed at the fireworks, and suddenly, before my eyes, something magical occurred. A greenish radiance poured from Earth directly up to the station, a radiance resembling gigantic phosphorescent organ pipes, whose ends were glowing crimson, and overlapped by waves of swirling green mist.
" 'Consider yourself very lucky, Vladimir,' I said to myself, 'to have watched the northern lights.' "Vladimir Remek, in Kevin Kelley, The Home Planet (1988), [Czechoslovakia].
"I shuddered when I saw a crimson flame through the porthole instead of the usual starry sky at the night horizon of the planet. Vast pillars of light were bursting into the sky, melting into it, and flooding over with all the colors of the rainbow. An area of red luminescence merged smoothly into the black of the cosmos. The intense and dynamic changes in the colors and forms of the pillars and garlands made me think of visual music. Finally, we saw that we had entered directly into the aurora borealis. "Aleksandr Ivanchenkov, in Kevin Kelley, The Home Planet (1988), [USSR].
"The Earth reminded us of a Christmas tree ornament hanging in the blackness of space. As we got farther and farther away it diminished in size. Finally it shrank to the size of a marble, the most beautiful marble you can imagine. That beautiful, warm, living object looked so fragile, so delicate, that if you touched it with a finger it would crumble and fall apart. Seeing this has to change a man, has to make a man appreciate the creation of God and the love of God."James B. Irwin, in J.B. Irwin and W. A. Emerson, Jr., To Rule the Night (1982) [USA].
"Suddenly from behind the rim of the moon, in long, slow-motion moments of immense majesty, there emerges a sparkling blue and white jewel, a light, delicate sky-blue sphere laced with slowly swirling veils of white, rising gradually like a small pearl in a thick sea of black mystery. It takes more than a moment to really realize this is Earth; this is home!"Edgar Mitchell, Noetic Scientific Brochure (1982) [USA].
"On the way back [from the moon] we had an EVA [extra-vehicular activity, or spacewalk] I had a chance to look around while I was outside and Earth was off to the right, 180,000 miles away, a little thin sliver of blue and white like a new moon surrounded by this blackness of space. Back over my left shoulder was almost a full moon.
"I didn't feel like I was a participant. It was like sitting in the last row of the balcony, looking down at all of that play going on down there . . I had that insignificant feeling of the immensity of this, God's creation."Charles Duke, Jr., in Kevin Kelley, The Home Planet (1988) [USA].
"Several days after looking at the Earth a childish thought occurred to me that we the cosmonauts are being deceived. If we are the first ones in space, then who was it who made the globe correctly? Then this thought was replaced by pride in the human capacity to see with our mind."Igor Volk, in Kevin Kelley, The Home Planet (1988) [USSR].
"You see layers as you look down. you see clouds towering up. You see their shadows on the sunlit plains, and you see a ship's wake in the Indian Ocean and brush fires in Africa and a lightning storm walking its way across Australia. You see the reds and the pinks of the Australian desert, and it's just like a stereoscopic view of all nature, except you're a hundred ninety miles up. "Joseph Allen, "Joe's Odyssey," in Omni, June 1983, p. 63 [USA].
"Myriad small ponds and streams would reflect the full glare of the sun for one or two seconds, then fade away as a new set of water surfaces came into the reflecting position. The effect was as if the land were covered with sparkling jewels."Karl Henize, in Kevin Kelley, The Home Planet (1988) [USA],
"The Pacific. You don't comprehend it by looking at a globe, but when you're traveling at four miles a second and it still takes you twenty-five minutes to cross it, you know its big."Paul Weitz, quoted in Henry F.S. Cooper, A House in Space (1976) [USA].
"Although the ocean's surface seems at first to be completely homogeneous, after half a month we began to differentiate various seas and even different parts of oceans by their characteristic shades.
"We were astonished to discover that, during an flight, you have to learn anew not only to look, but also to see. At first the finest nuances of color elude you, but gradually your vision sharpens and your color perception becomes richer, and the planet spreads out before you with all its indescribable beauty. "Wadimir Lyakhov, quoted in J. E. and A. R. Oberg, Pioneering Space (1986) [USSR].
"We were able to see the plankton blooms resulting from the upwelling off the coast of Chile. The plankton itself extended along the coastline and had some long tenuous arms reaching out to sea. The arms or lines of plankton were pushed around in a random direction, fairly well-defined yet somewhat weak in color, in contrast with the dark blue ocean. The fishing ought to be good down there."Edward Gibson, quoted in Henry F.S. Cooper, A House in Space (1976) [USA]..
"As we were flying over the Mozambique Channel, which separates the island of Madagascar from the continent of Africa, we could clearly see the transverse sand bars at its bottom. It was just like a brook one waded in childhood. "Lev Demin, in Kevin Kelley, The Home Planet (1988) [USSR].
"The first day or so we all pointed to our countries. The third or fourth day we were pointing to our continents. By the fifth day we were aware of only one Earth." Sultan Bin Salman al-Suad, in Kevin Kelley, The Home Planet (1988) [Saudi Arabia].
"We had various kinds of tape-recorded concerts and popular music. But by the end of the flight what we listened to most was Russian folk songs. We also had recordings of nature sounds: thunder, rain, the singing of birds. We switched them on most frequently of all, and we never grew tired of them. It was as if they returned us to Earth. "Anatoli Berezovoy, in V. Gor'koy and N. Kon'kov, Cosmonaut Berezovoy's Memoirs on 211-Day Spaceflight (1983) [USSR].
"A strange feeling of complete, almost solemn contentment suddenly overcame me when the descent module landed, rocked, and stilled. The weather was foul, but I smelled Earth, unspeakably sweet and intoxicating. And wind. Now utterly delightful; wind after long days in space. "Andriyan Nicolayev, in Kevin Kelley, The Home Planet (1988) [USSR].
You have just completed -
Chapter 8- The Creator's
Handiwork- THE EARTH
Go to the next file in this series,
NEXT Go to the next chapter in this series,
Chapter 9 THE PRIMITIVE ENVIRONMENT