Atomic number of an atom = number of protons in the nucleus of that atom. The mass number may vary for an element, because of a differing number of neutrons. Radioactive decay occurs by releasing particles and energy.
Elements with various numbers of neutrons are called isotopes of that element. Note that some elements have both radioactive and non-radioactive isotopes. Radioactive decay occurs by releasing subatomic particles and energy.
Based on our study of meteorites and rocks from the Moon, as well as modeling the formation of planets, it is believed (pretty much well-established) that all of the objects in the Solar System formed very quickly about 4.56 billion years ago.
Although we now recognize lots of problems with that calculation, the age of 25 my was accepted by most physicists, but considered too short by most geologists. Recognition that radioactive decay of atoms occurs in the Earth was important in two respects: Principles of Radiometric Dating Radioactive decay is described in terms of the probability that a constituent particle of the nucleus of an atom will escape through the potential (Energy) barrier which bonds them to the nucleus.
These are the surfaces that we can get absolute ages for.
For the others, one can only use relative age dating (such as counting craters) in order to estimate the age of the surface and the history of the surface.
Thus, if we start out with 1 gram of the parent isotope, after the passage of 1 half-life there will be 0.5 gram of the parent isotope left.
After the passage of two half-lives only 0.25 gram will remain, and after 3 half lives only 0.125 will remain etc.