Earth's rotation has been slowing since it formed ' and that could explain why there's enough oxygen for us to survive

Since its formation approximately 4.5 billion years ago, Earth's spin has been slowly slowing down.This slowing down means that days are becoming longer which allows some bacteria to produce more oxygen.New research suggests that such bacteria may have produced enough oxygen two billion years ago to sustain life.Loading. Click to sign up for Insider marketing emails. You also agree to receive partner offers.Since its formation around 4.5billion years ago, Earth's orbit has been slowly slowing and its days are getting longer.Although Earth's slowdown may not be noticeable on human time scales it is enough to make significant changes over many years. A new study, published Monday, shows that the greatest change was the increase in oxygen levels in Earth's atmosphere by lengthening days.According to the study authors, blue-green algae (also known as cyanobacteria) that emerged and proliferated around 2.4 billion years ago would have been more able produce oxygen as a metabolic byproduct as Earth's days got longer.In a press release, Gregory Dick, a microbiologist from the University of Michigan, stated that "an enduring question in Earth science has been how Earth's atmosphere got its oxygen, and which factors controlled when this oxygenation occurred."He said, "Our research suggests Earth's spinning rate in other words, its day duration may have had an impact on Earth's oxygenation pattern and timing."Longer days encourage bacteria to produce more oxygenNASA's Mariner 10 viewed the moon in 1973. NASA/JPL/Northwestern UniversityTwo major parts to this story don't appear to have much in common at first glance. The first is Earth's slowing spin. The moon's gravitational pull is slowing Earth's rate at rotation. The moon slowly pulls away from Earth, slowing down the planet's rotation.According to research, Earth's days are increasing by 1.8 milliseconds each century. Days may have been shorter than 6 hours in the early days of our planet. Days lasted just 18 hours around 1.4 billion years ago.The second component, also known as the Great Oxidation Event, is when cyanobacteria arose in such large numbers that Earth's atmosphere saw a significant increase in oxygen between 2.4 and 2 billion years ago.Scientists believe that without this event, life would not have existed as it is today.Scientists are still unsure why this event occurred and it didn't happen earlier in Earth's History. However, the new study could help to connect the dots.There are microbes mats in the Middle Island Sinkhole, Michigan's Lake Huron. They are similar to the cyanobacteria that caused the Great Oxidation Event.These lake-bed mats are home to purple cyanobacteria, which produce oxygen through photosynthesis, and white microbes that metabolize the sulfur. The white microbes eat their sulfur at night and rise to the top. The day ends and the sun rises above the horizon, the white microbes disappear and the purple cyanobacteria take their place.In a release, Judith Klatt, co-author of the study, stated that they now can produce oxygen and photosynthesize. However, they take a while to get started, and there is a long delay in the morning. It seems that cyanobacteria rise later than people who are awake in the morning.This means that the time window in which cyanobacteria can produce oxygen is extremely limited. Researchers at the University of Michigan were intrigued by this fact. They wanted to know if the Earth's past has had any impact on how cyanobacteria photosynthesis works.Klatt stated that it was possible that similar competition among microbes caused the delaying of oxygen production on early Earth.2015: A cyanobacteria flower in the Baltic Sea. NASA Earth ObservatoryKlatt's and Dick's teams conducted experiments and measurements in the lab and in the natural environment of the Michigan lake bed microbes to test their hypothesis. Based on their findings, they also developed models that linked sunlight to microbial Oxygen production and Earth's history to microbial Oxygen production."Intuition suggests two 12-hour days should look similar to one 24-hour. Arjun Chennu (marine scientist at the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research, Germany) and co-author of the study released, "The sunlight rises twice as fast and the oxygen production follows closely.""But, the release of oxygen by bacterial mats doesn't because it is restricted by molecular diffusion speed. He said that this subtle uncoupling oxygen release from sunlight is the core of the mechanism.These results were integrated into global models of oxygen levels. The team discovered that the lengthening days are linked to an increase in Earth’s oxygen, not only the Great Oxidation Event but also a second atmospheric Oxygenation Event called the Neoproterozoic Oxygenation Event which occurred between 550 and 800 million years ago.Chennu stated that Chennu had shown that there is a fundamental connection between the length of a day and the amount of oxygen ground-dwelling microbes can release. It's quite exciting. This is how we link the dance between the molecules in our microbial mat and the dance of our planet's moon.