Terrestrial Planets

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  • The Terrestrial Planets
    • Mercury
      • Closest to the Sun.
      • Smallest and least massive planet.
      • Has a similar size to the moon.  Also has a heavily cratered appearance.
      • Was impacted with a large planetesimal - strips away large most of the rocky crust.
      • The most elliptical orbit of all the planets
      • orbital period is 88 days and its rotational period is 58.64 days
      • Axis tilt of 0.0 degrees
        • NO MOONS
      • Orbital Resonance is tidal to tidal forces that a satellite experiences.
      • Due to mercury's large eccentricity, its rotational rate is synchronized with its orbital speed  at perihelion which is 15 times faster that its average velocity.
      • Caloris Basin is a large crater formed by the impact of a large asteroid.
      • Weird or Jumbled terrain. Astronomers believe that is was created by seismic waves due to the Caloris impact.
      • Scarps are cliffs that were caused by the planet  cooling and then shrinking.
      • Mercury has polar ice (water) caps. Only planets to not have these is venus.
      • 3:2 Orbital Resonance because the sun tries to Tidally lock the planet.
      • Inactive surface
      • Mercury has a large iron core.
      • Only planet with a double sunrise.
    • Venus
      • Venus has no moon.
      • Apart from the Sun and the Moon, Venus is the brightest object in the sky.
      • It is impossible to see through Venus cloud cover as there is permanent unbroken cloud cover.
      • Has the most circular orbit.
      • Orbital period is 224.7 days and has a rotational period of 243 days.
      • Size mass and density is similar to that of Earth
      • Has almost no magnetic field.
      • Spacecraft observations include: US Mariner flybys measured Venus mass. ascertained the atmospheric composition. Radar images of the surface.
        • US Pioneer mission flew probes into the atmosphere - found info on the variation of the temperature, pressure and chemical composition with altitude.
        • Completed a complete radar mapping of the Venusian surface.
      • Clouds composed of sulfuric acid.
      • Atmosphere is primarily composed of 96% CO2 and 3.5% N2.
      • The pressure is 100x greater that on the earth's surface because of its very thick atmosphere.
      • Surface exceeds 750K due to the runaway greenhouse effect.
      • Venus is very smooth and has two elevated continental regions and only occupy 8% of the surface.
      • No plate tectonic activity but there may be active volcanoes.
      • The highest peak on Venus is a mountain range names Maxwell Monters which rises 14 Km about the level of Venus deepest impressions.
      • Active surface and is highly volcanic.
      • Hottest planets in the solar system
      • Green house effect -  certain gasses in the atmosphere trap solar radiation
      • Radar mapping and atmospheric probes. Only visual information comes from the soviet venera landers.
      • The surface is smooth with 2 elevated land masses.
      • The tallest point on Mars is known as Maxwell Moneters.
    • Mars
      • 2 Natural Satellites.
      • Thin atm is 96% co2.
      • Moderately eccentric
      • In the habitable zone.  temparature and radiation exposerure is ok for life.
      • rrotational period 24hrs and 39 mins
      • Had large quantitys of running water. in the past.
      • axis tiit of  23.98
      • Weather patterns; fog dust stroms and claps
      • 2  parts to the polar ice caps. Seasonal cap which is made up of c02 and the residual cap is made up of h2o.
      • Most earth like planets

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