A brief history of the world

The relatively calm region of space we occupy in the Solar System today belies a fiery, violent past, and a spine-chilling future. This series explores the geological and natural history of Earth, beginning with the formation of our Solar System, moving on through asteroid impacts and mass extinctions, and ending with the human impact on the environment today. To really grasp the magnitude of the changes our planet has undergone, we need to speed through immense timescales, pausing at important milestones. And this article, the first of the series, starts at the very beginning.

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