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Why does the atmosphere stay in place?
Answered by Discovery Channel
  • Discovery Channel

    Discovery Channel

  1. The phrase "as light as air" is a bit of a misnomer, making it sound like the atmosphere is just a gust of wind floating away into space and disappearing. The atmosphere, and everything in it, has mass. In fact, it weighs 5.5 quadrillion tons (nearly 5 quadrillion metric tons), and just like anything else with mass, it's affected by gravity. The Earth's gravity doesn't just hold the atmosphere in place -- it's also one of the chief agents of air pressure.

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