Hydrogen may be the most abundant element in the universe, but in science and in nature oxygen has an importance that is disproportionate to its abundance. Human beings tend to take it for granted because it is all around us and we breathe it, but consider the fact that oxygen is so reactive that in a planetary setting it is largely unstable in its elemental state. Were it not for the constant activity of photosynthetic plants and a minor amount of photo dissociation in the upper atmosphere, we would not have an oxygen-bearing atmosphere and we would not be here....

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