The atmosphere implies the protective blanket of gases, surrounding the earth.The present atmosphere of the Earth is probably not its original atmosphere. Our current atmosphere is what chemists would call an oxidizing atmosphere, while the original atmosphere was what chemists would call a reducing atmosphere. In particular, it probably did not contain oxygen. The oxygen so characteristic of our atmosphere was almost all produced by plants (cyanobacteria or, more colloquially, blue-green algae). Thus, the present composition of the atmosphere is 79% nitrogen, 20% oxygen, and 1% other gases.