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Carbon-14 is radioactive, with a half-life of about 5,700 years.
For more information on cosmic rays and half-life, as well as the process of radioactive decay, see How Nuclear Radiation Works.
Cosmic rays enter the earth's atmosphere in large numbers every day.
For example, every person is hit by about half a million cosmic rays every hour.
Radiocarbon dating is a method of estimating the age of organic material.