Association Affairs

Evolution of the Earth's Atmosphere

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  22 Sep 1967:
Vol. 157, Issue 3795, pp. 1466-1467
DOI: 10.1126/science.157.3795.1466


We living things are a late outgrowth of the metabolism of our Galaxy. The carbon that enters so importantly into our composition was cooked in the remote past in a dying star. From it at lower temperatures nitrogen and oxygen were formed. These, our indispensable elements, were spewed out into space in the exhalations of red giants and such stellar catastrophes as supernovae, there to be mixed with hydrogen, to form eventually the substance of the sun and planets, and ourselves. The waters of ancient seas set the pattern of ions in our blood. The ancient atmospheres molded our metabolism.