The ray of the Sun
The ray of the Sun, reaching the Earth, ceases to be a light, but does not disappear and is not wasted, is not reflected completely back into the lifeless spaces of the cosmos. Absorbed by the green leaves of plants, their chlorophyll grains, the sunbeam turns into a great force, which drives the machine of life. In microscopically small cell organelles, the light ray becomes a latent energy of the chemical bond between atoms. It seems to be compressed into a powerful spring, which then, gradually spreading, gives up the stored energy of the Sun, saving it in the course of each life process, whether it is the movement of the cilia of the infusoria or the trembling of the thought of genius, the girl’s smile or the last effort of the weightlifter, the glow of the firefly in the night or ballet pas Catherine Maximova. The miracle of the transformation of the energy of the sun’s rays into the driving force of life takes place every second in the tissues of a green plant. And if we consider the ray of the sun to be the primary cause of life (more precisely, one of the most important components of the causal complex), then the green leaf, the chlorophyll grain, is the link between the Sun and life on Earth.
The great Russian scientist KA Timiryazev was the first to understand and appreciate the significance of the green pigment of plants – chlorophyll in the development of terrestrial life, its role as an intermediary, the cosmic role of the green plant. This role is played with equal success as microscopic unicellular blue-green algae – perhaps the oldest existing living creature, and the giants of the vegetable kingdom – the sequoia and eucalyptus, which swept their green crowns 100-120 m above the Earth’s surface.
The green mass of the Earth’s plants absorbs and absorbs only about 0.3% of the solar radiation energy incident on the earth’s surface. But this amount of energy is enough to ensure the synthesis of a huge mass of organic matter in the biosphere in order to radically change the conditions that existed on a lifeless Earth.
One of the most important manifestations of the transforming influence of life (which began at its dawn, with the advent of chlorophyll) was a change in the composition of the earth’s atmosphere. The ancient atmosphere of the Earth did not contain free oxygen.