Why is the Earth habitable?

Part of Hall of Planet Earth.

Why is the Earth Habitable The "Why is the Earth habitable?" section of the Gottesman Hall of Planet Earth
AMNH / R. Mickens

A special planet: the habitable Earth
What makes the Earth habitable? It is the right distance from the Sun, it is protected from harmful solar radiation by its magnetic field, it is kept warm by an insulating atmosphere, and it has the right chemical ingredients for life, including water and carbon. The processes that shape the Earth and its environment constantly cycle elements through the planet. This cycling sustains life and leads to the formation of the mineral and energy resources that are the foundation of modern technological society.