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Earth Compared With The Planets Of The Solar System.

1043 words - 4 pages

By investigating our solar system we broaden our perspectives and increase our understanding of the workings of the universe in broad-spectrum. An admirable approach to explore worlds is through comparative planetology, where we gain knowledge of a planet in context or comparison to another. Each planet has its own unique characteristics due to the span of time in which the structural processes have taken place. Many geological features of the planets are the result of chemical and physical processes whose function's occur elsewhere in the universe.Earth is a supreme model for which to provide a basis for comparative planetology. Astronomers have conquered Earth and gathered an immense amount of knowledge about our home planet, therefore making it a suitable reference for contrasting with other bodies in our solar system. Utilizing seismic waves, researchers have been able to determine the interior composition of our planet. Examination of outer lying rocks, gravity measurements, and studies of planetary magnetic fields also provide various clues about the internal structure of planets. We now know that Earth, as well as many other terrestrial worlds, contain three basic layers: a core, mantle, and crust. There is also a layer known as the lithosphere which typically blankets the crust and a portion of the upper mantle.Our planet has undergone remarkable changes since its inception billions of years ago. Many processes have carved the Earth's surface throughout its history; those same practices are currently taking place beneath our feet everyday. The four major perpetrators shaping our world include:Erosion: the wearing down or building up of geological features by wind, water, ice, and other phenomena of planetary weather.Impact Cratering: the blasting of bowl-shaped impact craters by asteroids or comets striking a planet's surface.Tectonics: the disruption of a planet's surface by internal stresses.Volcanism: the eruption of lava from a planet's interior onto its surface.These same factors are also responsible for the formation of surface features on other planets in our solar system.Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun and second smallest planet in the solar system. Its diameter is 40% smaller than Earths; Jupiter's moon Ganymede even dwarfs it in size. Mercury's dust-covered hills have been battered as meteors and asteroids are constantly beating it, while fault-cliffs ascend in height for several kilometers and extend for hundreds more along its surface. Mercury rotates one and a half times during each orbit, and one day on Mercury is equivalent to one hundred and seventy-six days on Earth. Mercury possesses no moons or rings.Venus is the second planet from the Sun and it is also the sixth largest. Venus' rotation is somewhat bizarre, in that it is both very sluggish and retrograde. Venus is often denoted as Earth's sister planet; however, it is composed mostly of carbon dioxide and has several layers of clouds containing mostly...

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