Last week we learned a bit about Mercury. Now let’s learn about the second planet closest to the sun, Venus!
Venus is a bit smaller than Earth and is a terrestrial planet. This means that it’s very rocky. It has a “cratered and volcanic landscape” (NASA). In 2010 there was evidence provided that there was volcanic activity several hundred thousand years ago. It is thought that there could still be volcanic activity today on the planet as well.
The planet is not great for life, however, with temperatures reaching up to almost 900 degrees Fahrenheit. This is hot enough to melt lead. It’s so hot that the probes that have landed on Venus have not survived longer than 2 hours on the surface.
The gravity of Venus is similar to Earth’s. For example, someone who weighed 100 pounds on Earth would weigh 91 pounds on Venus. That’s not too bad!
Unlike Mercury, who does not have an atmosphere, Venus has a very thick one. Its atmosphere is toxic and is made up of carbon dioxide and nitrogen. There are also “clouds of sulfuric acid droplets” (NASA) hanging around up there. This really isn’t a place you want to visit.
It takes about 243 Earth days for Venus to spin once. That’s quite long, considering that Mercury spins completely every 59 days and us only 24 hours. In comparison to the other planets, Venus spins backwards. This means that for Venus, the sun rises in the west. How cool is that?!
So let’s do a quick recap:
Venus is the second closest planet to the sun (Mercury being the first). It is similar to Earth in size and gravity. It is very hot and has been shown to have volcanic activity in the past. It is the only planet in our solar system that spins in another direction.
I got this information from NASA’s Solar System Exploration site.