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Venus and Mercury - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


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Venus and Mercury. Venus. Only a bit smaller than Earth Nearest planet (26 million miles) Shows phases as it orbits the Sun Atmosphere mostly Carbon Dioxide 90 times as dense as Earth Runaway Greenhouse Effect Surface Temperature 450 C (850 F). Venus from Pioneer Venus Orbiter.

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venus
Venus
  • Only a bit smaller than Earth
  • Nearest planet (26 million miles)
  • Shows phases as it orbits the Sun
  • Atmosphere mostly Carbon Dioxide
    • 90 times as dense as Earth
    • Runaway Greenhouse Effect
    • Surface Temperature 450 C (850 F)
venus differs from earth in one important way
Venus Differs from Earth in One Important Way:
  • Venus has no Plate Tectonics
  • Earth’s internal heat causes hot material to rise within Earth and plates to move
  • Venus’ crust is too rigid
  • Heat builds up and escapes in planet-wide volcanic activity
  • Last event about 600 million years ago
why venus has no plate tectonics
Why Venus Has No Plate Tectonics
  • It’s Hot! We’d expect hot rocks to be less rigid, not more!
  • But it’s also dry! Dry rocks are ten times stronger at high temperatures than wet rocks.
  • Earth is wet. That affects not just the outside, but the inside as well.
mercury
Mercury
  • Closest planet to Sun
  • Very elliptical orbit
  • Only 3000 miles (5000 km) in diameter
  • Rotation locked to Sun: 3 rotations in 2 orbits
  • Moon-like on the outside (craters)
  • Earth-like on the inside (dense core)
mercury has craters
Mercury has Craters
  • Not as dense as on Moon
  • Most of Mercury covered with lava plains (intercrater plains)