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What Is Hydrogen?
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Hydrogen is the simplest element in the Universe: it has just one electron
orbiting a nucleus of one single proton
. It's also the most abundant (helium comes in at a distant second). Immediately after the Big Bang, when the Universe was just fractions of a second old, it was about 92 percent hydrogen and 8 percent helium atoms by number, roughly three-quarters hydrogen by mass. As the Universe cooled, clouds of hydrogen gas stabilized and formed protostars. Once they had enough mass, pressure, and heat, they became stars, and heavier elements were formed as hydrogen atoms fused deep inside their cores. Hydrogen may be the most abundant element in the Universe but it's surprisingly pretty rare on Earth. The most abundant elements in our atmosphere are oxygen and nitrogen. Hydrogen is found in compounds like water, but free hydrogen atoms that reach the us don't stick around: Earth's gravity can't hold them
The name hydrogen comes from the Greek hydro,
which means "water" and genes
which mean "forming". Although the cells in our body are mostly water, hydrogen makes up less than 10 percent of the human body and less than 0.15 percent of the material that makes up the Earth. As a fuel, hydrogen burns cleanly: hydrogen carries energy without carbon in it, so when it burns it produces water as a byproduct. Because it's rare on Earth, however, it's far more expensive than traditional gasoline at the moment. Companies like Planetary Resources are hoping to change this by exploring way of mining asteroids for hydrogen that could be used for fuel.
Facts About Hydrogen
"The most abundant element in the universe, hydrogen is also a promising source of "clean" fuel on Earth."
Why did the Universe start off with Hydrogen, Helium, and not much else?
"Looking around the Universe today, there's no doubt that there's plenty of hydrogen and helium around; after all, it's the nuclear fusion of hydrogen into helium that powers the vast majority of stars illuminating the entire cosmos!"
Abundances of the Elements in the Earth's Crust
"Given the abundance of oxygen and silicon in the crust, it should not be surprising that the most abundant minerals in the earth's crust are the silicates."
"Hydrogen and helium account for nearly all the nuclear matter in today's universe. This is consistent with the standard or "big bang" model. The process of forming the hydrogen and helium and other trace constituents is often called "big bang nucleosynthesis"."