In this paper, I will describe the principal characteristics of our solar system’s terrestrial planets. I will discuss briefly the mechanics of the formation of these planets and their relationship with each other. In so, I will be focusing on how the Earth is unique. M. Williams describes the terrestrial planets like this “All terrestrial planets have approximately the same type of structure: a central metallic core composed of mostly iron, with a surrounding silicate mantle. Such planets have common surface features, which include canyons, craters, mountains, volcanoes, and other similar structures, depending on the presence of water and tectonic activity.”, Williams, M. (2016, August 25). According to the website, Space.com in our solar system there are four terrestrial planets. These planets are also the planets closest to the sun. The four planets are Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars. The website also states that there were likely other terrestrial planets that may have combined with other planets or were destroyed. (Gammon, 2019) As far as the mechanics of the inner planets and their atmospheres the Earths is unusual. It is chemically unstable, it is primarily made up of nitrogen and oxygen.
We know for certain that humans, animals, and plants can survive living on earth, this may not be true for the other planets. Mercury has no atmosphere. By the website solarsystem.NASA.gov “Instead of an atmosphere, Mercury possesses a thin exosphere made up of atoms blasted off the surface by the solar wind and striking meteoroids. Mercury’s exosphere is composed mostly of oxygen, sodium, hydrogen, helium and potassium.” I don’t see how life can be sustainable on this planet without the oxygen we need to breath and the plant and animals we need to survive. The atmosphere of Venus is reported to be 100 times greater than the Earth’s atmosphere. Venus’s atmosphere is made up of carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is the gas we give off during our breathing cycle and is toxic to our survival. Second only to the sun, Venus is the brightest object in the sky. Like Venus, Mars’s atmosphere is mostly made up of carbon dioxide.
In conclusion, the characteristics of the terrestrial planets in our solar system is vast and far, in our lifetime we may never really experience what it would be like to visit these planets. It is amazing that there are other objects in space that are made up of some of the same materials that the earth is made up of, how similar the planets seem to be, yet so different. It appears these planets were placed in the sky for our wonder, and maybe our exploration.
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