Design of Earth vis-à-vis divine objective
To describe Earth in all its splendour is an impossible proposition. What is intended here is to draw attention to the Quranic revelation of divine purpose with Earth and to bring to focus how Earth is designed to achieve it. The universe is referred to in the Quran as “skies and the earth” (Q. 11:7). It may be noted that more importance is attached to Earth than any other region in the cosmos as it forms the venue of human robot testing, which is central to the divine mission. A lot of information is now available on various aspects of Earth that will help study the planet from the standpoint of divine mission [2, 3, 4]. NASA website also gives extensive information.
Studies in astronomy picked up momentum only during the last century. For centuries, astronomers believed that our galaxy, the Milky Way, made up the entire universe. In 1924, the American astronomer, Edwin Hubble, demonstrated that ours was not the only galaxy; there were billions of galaxies spaced far between. A galaxy is a huge collection of millions of stars, dust and gas. The Milky Way is a spiral galaxy consisting of more than 100 billion stars. It is supposed to have come into existence ten to fifteen billion years ago. The earth is part of the solar system belonging to the Milky Way (Figure 1). Solar system is situated on the outer edge of the Milky Way about 28000 light years from the galactic centre. It takes 225 million years to complete one revolution around the Milky Way. Our sun, located centrally in the solar system, is a medium-sized yellow star. It makes up 99.8 per cent of the mass of the solar system. Its diameter is 1,390,000 km. Following the recent de-recognition of the planet Pluto, there are now eight planets belonging to the solar system. These are Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Besides it also has at least three dwarf planets (Pluto is now treated as a dwarf planet), more than 130 planetary satellites, a large number of asteroids (rocky objects in space ranging from a few meters wide to several hundred kilometres) and comets, and the interplanetary medium.