Planet Earth: A Guide for Alien Scientists

If astronomers from another world sent a probe to study ours, where would you tell it to land?

In Iceland, at one end of the 10,000-mile-long Mid-Atlantic Ridge, a visitor could see new crust being born as magma oozes up from the interior. (© 2013 Robert Postma/
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Maybe it’s too much to expect that alien geologists could figure all of this out based on visiting just five locations. After all, it’s taken our own scientists centuries to begin to understand Earth as a planet, and they live here. But at least it’s a start. And, as any of our experts would attest, there’s still plenty left to explore.


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