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dc.contributor.authorStueeken, Eva E.
dc.contributor.authorSom, S. M.
dc.contributor.authorClaire, Mark
dc.contributor.authorRugheimer, Sarah
dc.contributor.authorScherf, M.
dc.contributor.authorSproß, L.
dc.contributor.authorTosi, N.
dc.contributor.authorUeno, Y.
dc.contributor.authorLammer, H.
dc.identifier.citationStueeken , E E , Som , S M , Claire , M , Rugheimer , S , Scherf , M , Sproß , L , Tosi , N , Ueno , Y & Lammer , H 2020 , ' Mission to planet Earth : the first two billion years ' , Space Science Reviews , vol. 216 , 31 .
dc.identifier.otherPURE: 266580762
dc.identifier.otherPURE UUID: e75f4333-b5c7-43f7-b278-632f7be731fd
dc.identifier.otherScopus: 85081949941
dc.identifier.otherWOS: 000519884600001
dc.description.abstractSolar radiation and geological processes over the first few million years of Earth’s history, followed soon thereafter by the origin of life, steered our planet towards an evolutionary trajectory of long-lived habitability that ultimately enabled the emergence of complex life. We review the most important conditions and feedbacks over the first 2 billion years of this trajectory, which perhaps represent the best analogue for other habitable worlds in the galaxy. Crucial aspects included: (1) the redox state and volatile content of Earth’s building blocks, which determined the longevity of the magma ocean and its ability to degas H2O and other greenhouse gases, in particular CO2, allowing the condensation of a water ocean; (2) the chemical properties of the resulting degassed mantle, including oxygen fugacity, which would have not only affected its physical properties and thus its ability to recycle volatiles and nutrients via plate tectonics, but also contributed to the timescale of atmospheric oxygenation; (3) the emergence of life, in particular the origin of autotrophy, biological N2 fixation, and oxygenic photosynthesis, which accelerated sluggish abiotic processes of transferring some volatiles back into the lithosphere; (4) strong stellar UV radiation on the early Earth, which may have eroded significant amounts of atmospheric volatiles, depending on atmospheric CO2/N2 ratios and thus impacted the redox state of the mantle as well as the timing of life’s origin; and (5) evidence of strong photochemical effects on Earth’s sulfur cycle, preserved in the form of mass-independent sulfur isotope fractionation, and potentially linked to fractionation in organic carbon isotopes. The early Earth presents itself as an exoplanet analogue that can be explored through the existing rock record, allowing us to identify atmospheric signatures diagnostic of biological metabolisms that may be detectable on other inhabited planets with next-generation telescopes. We conclude that investigating the development of habitable conditions on terrestrial planets, an inherently complex problem, requires multi-disciplinary collaboration and creative solutions.
dc.relation.ispartofSpace Science Reviewsen
dc.rights© The Author(s) 2020. Open Access. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
dc.subjectEarly Earthen
dc.subjectAtmospheric evolutionen
dc.subjectGE Environmental Sciencesen
dc.titleMission to planet Earth : the first two billion yearsen
dc.typeJournal itemen
dc.description.versionPublisher PDFen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews. School of Earth & Environmental Sciencesen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews. St Andrews Centre for Exoplanet Scienceen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews. St Andrews Isotope Geochemistryen
dc.description.statusPeer revieweden

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