1.The earth moves round the sun.
2.We live on earth.
3. The space shuttle returned to earth.
I know that the definite article the is used before the word earth when it is considered a planet.
- When we think of earth as human habitation, we do not use the definite article the.
3.I know that the definite article is not used in idioms such as come down to earth.
But in sentence 3 the space shuttle returned to earth , is earth considered a planet or human habitation? It seems that it is considered human habitation.
I have taken all the sentences from Longman's Active study dictionary. Page number 276.
Is it wrong to say The space shuttle returned to the earth?