Mercury is our cute little planet closest to the Sun in our solar system. It is only 1/18th the size of the Earth, and not much larger than the moon. Mercury isn’t so cute when you look at it up close though. It has a high density which means it is made mostly of heavy materials like metals. It’s basically a metal ball about the size of the moon with a rocky crust about 700 kilometers thick. It’s MOSTLY a liquid metal ball. On the surface it looks a lot like the moon. It is heavily cratered. Amazingly it has water ice at the north pole. It gets pelted by asteroids with how many craters are there, catching some that would have gone into the sun.
With scarps across some of the craters and land around them, it looks like the planet must have shrunk after the craters were formed. Scarps are cracks. The reason there is so little rocky crust might be that this planet got into some collisions early on when it was young and lost its rocks! The early solar system was chaotic and violent, and Mercury was not a good place to be.
A year on Mercury is an 88 day orbit, moving 48 kilometers per second. Gosh, would you even see it if it went by that fast? Hopefully you’re not in its path and get bonked by it! It is about 58 million miles away from the sun on average, given that it is closer at times and further away at other times.
However, Mercury rotates pretty slow, compared to how fast it moves around the sun. It takes 59 days for it to make a full rotation, about 2/3rds of the planet’s orbit around the sun. Therefore it only rotates three times for every two orbits around the sun. A day on Mercury is 59 Earth days, almost two months .No other planet rotates this way, definitely strange. It is more evidence that Mercury might have had some kind of collision or accident somewhere along the line.
Its temperature on the daytime side is a hot 430 degrees Celsius but at night it’s a freezing -170 degrees Celsuis. Yikes! That’s a drastic difference, and you wouldn’t imagine that it could be that close to the sun and have any level of freezing even on the dark side! There are craters at the poles that never get any sunlight, so imagine how cold those might be!
The difference between day and night on Mercury is 600 degrees Celsius. That’s the greatest temperature difference of all the planets in the solar system. One reason for this is that Mercury has no atmosphere to hold the warmth.
108 million kilometers form the Sun, with an orbital path that is very circular, Venus is the “evening star” and the “morning star” depending where it is in our sky. It is only 40 million miles away from us. Mars is 56 million kilometers from Earth in comparison.
Venus looks pretty bright in the sky. You can’t see the surface because it has a vaporous atmosphere, covered in clouds. This atmosphere is 96% carbon dioxide. It also has nitrogen. It is a very heavy atmosphere at 10,000 times more pressure than the Martian atmosphere. The pressure is 90 bars. That’s heavy. It would crush just about anything that tried to land on it, so we probably won’t send anything there to the surface of Venus.
The atmosphere is very large, 50 kilometers high. Being on the surface of Venus would be like being one kilometer below the ocean. The clouds are made of sulfuric acid, same chemical volcanos on earth emit. This is the top 30 meters of the atmosphere but under that, no more clouds.
The surface is 700K degrees and when it was realized that the cloud cover causes that, the term greenhouse effect was created. The CO2 makes the greenhouse effect worse than it would be in Earth. It doesn’t let the infrared heat from the ground go into space. This makes Venus very hot. This is a runaway greenhouse effect. The atmosphere evolves from a small effect to a large one.
Venus is dry. No water. If Venus was Earthlike at one point, the water obviously left the planet. The way the atmosphere would change is because all the solid waters would evaporate in the heat. The hydrogen element part of the water, as it gets closer to space in the clouds, would escape and only the oxygen is left. This is how the water leaves the planet.
Could this happen to Earth eventually as it gets closer to the sun? Guess we have yet to see!
Its red color, based on the high quantities of Iron on its surface, it has been called the war planet (blood is red). The surface is cold and dry, but in the past it looks like it had blue skies and water. Many spacecraft have gone to Mars, half were successful, and they collected massive amounts of information, pictures, and mapped the planet. There are volcanoes, canyons, polar caps and river beds.
We are searching for life on Mars. So far no go. It is believed that if there is life it is under the surface, so there is a big effort to get humans there to find out! So far we have found ice near the poles which has intrigued Scientists because water is life. If there is ice, there may be water under the surface and thus life. The Gale crater was obviously filled with water at some point.
Mars rocks escape Mars when meteors hit because the gravity isn’t that strong, only 38% of Earth’s. Moon rocks have come to Earth since its gravity is low. In comparison, it would be impossible for a rock to escape from Venus because of its high pressure heavy atmosphere. Mars rocks are intriguing because they have had water in them, tiny gas bubbles and carbon based organic compounds in them. This is what makes us believe there is or at least was life on Mars.
Mars is smaller than earth, but because it doesn’t have oceans, it would equal the same amount of solid ground as our continents. Its density is low so it is assume that is has a small metal core, not a large one. It has no magnetic field. Without water, it doesn’t have the conducting mechanism for magnetic fields to work. The tallest land on mars is 31 kilometers high from the bottom of the deepest place of Mars. In the southern hemisphere, it is deeply cratered.
That’s the lowdown on Mercury, Venus and Mars, the terrestrial planets in our solar system besides ours. Looks like Earth really is special among them! So interesting to know about these planets and what we can learn from them.
Christine Breese is the founder of University of Metaphysical Sciences, Gaia Sagrada Retreat Center, and Free Retreats 4 All. She is an author, teacher, speaker and healer facilitating spiritual journeys in person, meditation online, through her books and articles, and also through her Christine Breese Youtube Videos. She invites every person to discover the genius-master within themselves!