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The gas giants, Jupiter and Saturn, and the ice giants, Uranus and Neptune, formed much faster than the four terrestrial planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars, did.

Approximately 4.54 billion years ago, a Mars-sized body slammed into the newly formed Earth, partially liquifying the surface and ejecting molten debris into space.

At some point, asteroids or comets containing water ice slammed into the Earth, thereby bringing a lot of water vapor to the Earth.

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Elephantine Jupiter got caught up in these currents and started moving inward toward the Sun.

The movement of this giant, with its powerful gravity wreaking havoc as it danced around, dislodged asteroids and sent them flying inwards into the planets.

This helps scientists figure out the age of a lot of geological processes, and has enabled them to put together a geological time scale for our Earth.

The geological timescale above is a representation of time elapsed after the formation of earth, divided into slices, each differentiated by a geological event whose record is held in rock samples.

And this article, the first of the series, starts at the very beginning.

Some 4.6 billion years ago, a giant cloud of gas, called a nebula, collapsed into itself because of its mass and crushed all the gassy material in it into a plane, even as it was constantly spinning.This ejecta remained as a ring around our planet for a few months, before coalescing and forming the Moon.Residual gases were still swirling slowly around the Sun, causing streams and waves in space.Nearly 98% of this gas was just hydrogen and helium.(Our Sun constitutes 98% of the mass of our Solar System today.) Gases and other materials in this protoplanetary disc outside of the Sun started clumping together at various spots.Volcanic activity still continued and even under the newly forming oceans, super-volcanoes persisted.

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