Solar flares are believed to be among the main factors that contributed to the apparition of life on Earth. According to NASA scientists, roughly 4 billion years ago, when the Earth and the Sun were still in their “adolescent” period, our planet was much colder, and the Sun far more unpredictable. Luckily, the solar flares the star emitted were enough to warm our planet and prepare it for the constant heat that the Sun was going to send after it settled down.
It seems that 4 billion years ago, our solar system looked considerably different than it looks today. For starters, the star in the center of it was “acting out”, bursting and exploding at an irregular pace. Due to the fact that it was a young star, it didn’t have the power to warm the third planet in line as it has today, so the Earth was much cooler.
NASA researchers believed that the star was only capable of emitting about 75 percent of the heat it transmits today. This means that the temperatures on our planet (that didn’t have a fully functioning atmosphere capable of holding on to carbon dioxide) were comparable to those currently registered on Mars.
However, our planet was not completely heat deprived. During its explosions, the Sun emitted powerful solar flares that traveled all the way towards Earth. This allowed the world to evolve, adapt itself to the heat and, ultimately, after another couple billion years, allow life to prosper on its surface.
The concentration of nitrous oxide in our atmosphere used to be 90 percent. This means that when the solar flares reached Earth, the heat created nitrous oxide, an important greenhouse gas, that trapped heat and warmed our planet just enough to allow the ice to melt and form liquid oceans.
What is even more fascinating is that the researchers always scoured the Earth in search of the immense energy wave that transformed simple molecules into DNA and RNA. Now that they’ve extended their search area, they believe that solar flares were, in fact, the catalyst that helped unicellular organisms evolve into early pluricellular lifeforms.
Up until now, astronomers thought that solar flares could bring death and destruction, but never stopped to think that our lives may be owed to our Sun’s moody personality.
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