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Planet Earth Manual

The practical guide to Earth (4.5 billion years old)
David Baker
23 October, 2015

Haynes puts its unique spin on planet Earth with new manual

Renowned for delving deep beneath the bonnet to show readers how machinery works, Haynes Manuals has now dissected one of the most complex systems that mankind has strived to comprehend – Planet Earth.

Launched this month, the Planet Earth Manual, written by Dr David Baker, tackles the topics of the origins and formation of Earth and the Moon, and their place in the wider planetary system which orbits around the Sun. The book analyses the Earth as a constantly changing machine – the product of billions of years of evolution – and breaks its complex natural processes down in Haynes's easily digestible style to explain the world in which we live.

Spanning over 4.5 billion years of evolution, the manual takes readers through Earth's beginnings and evolution, including the impact of life on the planet and the physical processes that have created strange and wonderful landscapes across the surface. It concludes by exploring how humans have impacted on the planet's recent history, before then pondering what tomorrow may hold for Earth and the species that call it home.

Author Dr David Baker, Earth and planetary scientist, and former NASA engineer, commented: "We owe our existence to our habitable planet, its dynamic relationship with the Moon, and the 'goldilocks' spot that they occupy in the solar system – not too hot and not too cold. Earth is a truly unique place and, by comparing it to other planets throughout the book, I hope to open readers' eyes to the fascinating world around them.

"Only very recently have we had the toolkit available to truly understand how our planet works and measure the changes that are constantly taking place. This has enabled us to develop evidence-backed answers to such questions as why Earth has only one moon, why tsunamis take place, and when life started to take hold on the surface."

The Planet Earth Manual is filled with photographs of Earth's varied landscapes, as well as technical drawings and charts to illustrate various concepts and processes, making it approachable for any reader with an inquisitive mind. The book is equally as informative for science enthusiasts, environmentalists, and budding geologists alike.

Dr David Baker is available for further comment and media interview.

About the author

Dr David Baker worked with NASA on the Gemini, Apollo and Shuttle programmes between 1965 and 1990 and has written almost 100 books on aviation, science and space technology. His science was Earth & Planetary Physics and he is now a full-time author, editor of Spaceflight – the magazine of the British Interplanetary Society – and consultant to companies and governments. He lives in East Sussex.

Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Planet Earth and the Moon

  1. The oldest surviving rock discovered to date is called Acasta Gneiss. It is 4.031 billion years old and is located in Canada.
  2. The Moon is unique in the solar system in that it is by far the largest natural satellite in relation to its parent planet.
  3. The Moon rotates on its axis once in the same time it takes to orbit Earth, meaning that one side of the Moon is continuously facing Earth and the other side will never face our planet.
  4. There are eight minerals that make up 98% of the Earth’s crust, which, in order of abundance, are: oxygen, silicon, aluminum, iron, magnesium, calcium, sodium and potassium.
  5. Laser retro-reflectors left on the surface of the Moon by astronauts are being used to measure the separation rates of the continents on Earth.
  6. Yellowstone National Park’s supervolcano has a magma chamber measuring 50 x 12 miles.
  7. Each year Earth experiences about 500,000 earthquakes, but only one fifth can be felt.
  8. Only 2.5% of Earth’s total water content is freshwater, with 70% of this going into growing food for humans and for manufacturing food products.
  9. Every square mile of ocean surface across Earth holds on average almost 50,000 tiny plastic fragments of broken down waste.
  10. The Moon is constantly moving away from Earth at the rate of around 3.8cm per year. Eventually, the Moon’s orbit of the Earth will last more than 50 hours.

The information on this page is supplied courtesy of Haynes Publishing, please credit accordingly if you intend to use it. For more information or to request a review copy please contact:
Max Hammond at McCann PR on +44(0)117 921 8143 or
Eleanor James at McCann PR on +44(0)117 921 8135 or
or email Haynes PR

To request a review copy or high-res images contact McCann PR

Haynes Manuals is the world's leading publisher of illustrated workshop car and motorcycle manuals, as well as producing manuals on a wide range of DIY, leisure and lifestyle subjects. These will continue to include motoring and motorsport related subjects. Sparkford, Yeovil, Somerset BA22 7JJ. Telephone: 01963 440635 Fax: 01963 440001 E-mail: