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This drawing represents a comet bringing atmospheric molecules and possibly primitive life forms to the Earth's surface.
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Base

Like an acid, a base is a substance capable of dissolving things.

There are many bases. Here are a few: Ammonia (used as a cleaner), Calcium hydroxide (used in mortar for construction), Magnesium hydroxide (otherwise known as milk of magnesia; used as a laxative or antacid), Sodium hydroxide (used as an oven cleaner).


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Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

Nitric Acid - HNO3

Nitric acid is a very strong kind of acid. If you got some on your skin, it would burn you! Nitric acid has nitrogen, oxygen, and hydrogen atoms in it. Earth's atmosphere has a very, very tiny bit of nitric...more

Sulfuric Acid - H2SO4

Sulfuric acid is a very common type of acid. Acid rain has sulfuric acid in it. Acid rain harms plants, fish, and other living things. A type of air pollution causes acid rain. When people burn fossil...more

Methane - CH4

Methane is a kind of gas. There is a small amount of methane in the air you breathe. A methane molecule has carbon and hydrogen atoms in it. Methane is a greenhouse gas. That means it helps make Earth...more

Ammonia - NH3

Ammonia is a kind of gas. Ammonia molecules (NH3) have hydrogen and nitrogen atoms in them. The air you breathe has a tiny bit of ammonia in it. When plants and animals die and decay, they give off ammonia....more

Nitrogen

There is more nitrogen gas in the air than any other kind of gas. About four out of five of the molecules in Earth's atmosphere is nitrogen gas! A molecule of nitrogen gas is made up of two nitrogen atoms....more

Oxygen

Oxygen (O2) is a kind of gas. A lot of the air you breathe is oxygen. That's a good thing, since we need oxygen to stay alive! About 4/5ths of the air in Earth's atmosphere is nitrogen (N2). Almost all...more

Hydrogen Peroxide - H2O2

Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is a kind of chemical. A molecule of hydrogen peroxide has oxygen and hydrogen atoms in it. Hydrogen peroxide is a clear liquid. Hydrogen peroxide is in some liquids that are used...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA