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Planetary Comparison Essay

1984 words - 8 pages

Planetary comparison
Chris Bond
SCI 151
11/30/10
Norm Stradleigh


The make-up of the solar system consists of eight planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, and two dwarf planets: Pluto and Eris. These planets all revolve around an average-sized star in which we call our sun. Before we begin comparing the planets within our solar system we must first ask ourselves what a planet is. First to be called a planet, the body must have its own orbit around the Sun, It should be spherical by the merit of its own gravitational force, and it ...view middle of the document...

The bottom line is that these giant planets are made up completely of gas and have tremendous gravity attached to them.
The celestial planets all have a similar make-up and composition. They consist of a core usually made up of extremely dense metals such as iron and nickel, a mantle that surrounds the core and is usually very hot and made up of rocky material and minerals, and last a crust made up usually of granite and basalt, which forms the “skin” of the planet. The first of these planets is Mercury. Mercury is closest to the sun, and because of the severe heat is considered a dead planet. There is not much to say about this planet so we will continue on to a more interesting and mysterious one. The planet Venus is named after the Goddess of love and most of its features are named after similar female gods. The diameter of Venus is approximately 12,103 km, or in easier terms is about 95% of the size of earth. Venus has a mass of around 81% of earth (slightly less dense), and a surface gravity of near 86%. Its similarity in size and other factors have prompted many scientists to believe it has a very similar make-up to our planet. Some of the key difference between Venus and earth begin with the average surface temperature being more than 30 times hotter than on earth, and with its extremely slow rotation one Venus day is equivalent to 243 earth days. This is extraordinary because year on Venus is equal to 224.7 days back on earth, meaning the planet’s year is shorter than its single day. Its distance from the sun is .71 AU with one AU being the distance from the earth to the sun. It has no moons in its orbit and has a very dense atmosphere consisting of 92% Carbon Dioxide to earth’s 78% nitrogen. This dense atmosphere and cloud cover makes it impossible for astronomers to see through to the surface of the planet with the naked eye. The conditions underneath this thick atmosphere are also very hostile. It causes the temperature to be extremely high, has an atmospheric pressure upwards of 90 times that of earth, and sulfuric acid clouds resulting from what scientists believe to be volcanic activity.
As we pass Earth we next come to Mars. Mars is the fourth planet from the sun and is the last of the celestial planets. Originally astronomers thought they had found signs of life on the planet in the form of canals and vegetation. This was soon found to be false in that if there were ever any life on the planet it has been long gone. Mars does though boast the largest volcano in the solar system at almost 25km in height and 600km wide, and with the entire planet being almost 50% smaller than earth. Mars’ mass is also only 10% of earth’s, meaning that with it being half earth’s size, it is considerably less dense than our planet. The gravity on Mars is also significantly less at 38% of the gravity on earth. The length of a Martian day is right about the same as earth because it rotates at a similar rate, but the...

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