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                                                                              Mercury –
                                                                                 too small to retain atmosphere
                                                                                 temperature often exceeds 330˚C
                                                                                 made-up of a large metallic core (possibly iron),
                                                                                   covered by a thin mantle and then a crust
                                                                                 a heavily cratered surface and distinct signs of
                                                                                   ancient volcanism
                                                                                 the surface is uniquely marked by great lobate
                                                                                   scarps, curved cliffs that are thought to have
                                                                                   formed as wrinkles when the planet cooled, like
                                                                                   a grape shrivelling to a raisin.
                      Characteristics: small, dense, rocky, less atmosphere

                                                                                 Moons - none
                                                                              Venus –
                                                                                 surface is hidden by a thick cloudy atmosphere
                                                                                 surface is a desert marked by impact craters,
                                                                                   shield volcanoes, lava flows, coronae (round
                                                                                   ridges formed by fractures and internal motion
Terrestrial Planets

                                                                                   of molten magma), and faults
                                                                                 Moons - none
                                                                              Mars –
                                                                                 a rocky surface marked by impact craters and
                                                                                   old volcanism
                                                                                 a thin atmosphere
                                                                                 nearly the same length day as Earth
                                                                               Phobos                     Deimos
                                                                                  only 28km at its            smaller than
                                                                                    largest dimension            Phobos
                                                                                  irregular shape,            dusty soil covers
                                                                                    heavily cratered             smaller features
                                                                                  marked by grooves
                                                                                    related to a large
                                                                                    impact crater
                                                                              Earth –
                                                                                 a mostly water planet, with large masses of
                                                                                   exposed rocky surfaces and a constantly
                                                                                   changing cloudy atmosphere
                                                                                 made-up of a molten core surrounded by a
                                                                                   mantle, and covered by a fractured crust.
                                                                                  too small to have an atmosphere
                                                                                  surface is pock-marked by impact craters
                                                                                  most rocks found on the surface are igneous
                                                                Jupiter –
                                                                    marked by dramatic cloud belts and a large red spot
                                                                      (actually a giant storm of rising gas carrying heat
                                                                      upwards from deep within the atmosphere)
                                                                    thought to be composed of a liquid hydrogen layer under
                                                                      the atmosphere, with a liquid metallic hydrogen layer
                                                                      beneath and a small rock or ice cluster at its core
                                                                    there are 48 known small moons and 4 large moons
                                                                      orbiting the planet. The small moons are thought to be
                                                                      asteroids that have been captured in the planet’s
                                                                      gravitational force.
                                                                 Larger Moons –
                 Characteristics: large, gaseous, low density

                                                                  Callisto: 50% water, and a mixture of rock and ice. It is
                                                                    tidally locked to Jupiter and is the outer most of the
                                                                  Ganymede: larger than both Earth’s moon and Mercury,
                                                                    it is also 50% water – with a rocky core, an icy mantle and
Jovian Planets

                                                                    a crust of ice 500km thick.
                                                                  Europa: the smallest of these four, it contains an icy crust
                                                                    over a water mantel, possibly surrounding a small metallic
                                                                  Io: sulfur rich and extremely volcanic, with lava flows
                                                                    covering over craters faster than they are made.
                                                                Saturn –
                                                                    Recognised by its bright set of elliptical rings
                                                                    thought to have a rocky core encased by a liquid metallic
                                                                      hydrogen layer, and covered by a liquid hydrogen layer
                                                                    only one third of the mass of Jupiter
                                                                    less dense than water.
                                                                 Moons -
                                                                 Titan -                        Smaller Moons –
                                                                     Saturn’s largest moon;        nearly 24 known
                                                                       larger in size than the      Voyager revealed that 8
                                                                       planet Mercury                  of these moons have a
                                                                     a thick atmosphere of            low density and are
                                                                       Nitrogen and Methane            formed of rock and ice
                                                                     a rock core, thought to
                                                                       have an icy surface
                                                                       covered in some parts
                                                                       by organic goo.
                                                                Uranus –
                                                                   Appears featureless but Voyager images show evidence
                                                                     of belt-zones and cloud patterns concentric to the
                                                                     planet’s axial rotation
                                                                   thought to have a heavy element core surrounded by
                                                                     water, and covered by a liquid hydrogen layer
                                                                   the planet’s dark blue atmosphere is produced by the
                                                                     high content of methane.
                                                                 Smaller Moons –       Larger Moons – all have rock cores
                                                                                       covered by ice
                                                                    Voyager 2              Oberon: old, inactive, heavily
                 Characteristics: large, gaseous, low density

                                                                      cameras                cratered surface
                                                                      discovered 10         Titania: cratered surface crossed
                                                                    They appear             by deep valleys
                                                                      black due to          Umbriel: a dark, cratered world
                                                                      radiation from         with no faults or valleys
Jovian Planets

                                                                      their belt            Ariel: crossed by faults & broad
                                                                                            Miranda: smallest, marked by
                                                                                             oval systems of grooves
                                                                Neptune –
                                                                   Nearly the same size and density as Uranus
                                                                   a ring encircles it
                                                                   a Great Dark Spot (which appears similar to Jupiter’s
                                                                     Great Red Spot) occupies the southern hemisphere
                                                                   though most of the planet appears blue due to its
                                                                     methane-rich atmosphere, Voyager 2 has captured
                                                                     images of some white clouds, at a higher altitude than
                                                                     the rest of the atmosphere and made up of frozen
                                                                     methane crystals
                                                                 Smaller Moons –           Larger Moons –
                                                                    Voyager 2 cameras  Triton:        a     nearly  circular
                                                                      discovered 6           retrograde orbit, the surface is
                                                                                             composed of ice, but shows
                                                                                             signs of past activity
                                                                                           Nerid: a large elliptical orbit,
                                                                                             taking 359.4 days to circle
                                                 Pluto –
          Characteristics: small, low density,       the most elliptical orbit
                                                     can come closer to the sun than Neptune, but will never
                                                       collide with the planet due to its orbital inclination of 17˚
                                                       to the solar system
                                                     due to its extreme cold, the planet can retain an
                     far from sun

                                                       atmosphere, composed mostly of nitrogen with traces of
                                                       methane gas
                                                     the surface is covered by a 97% nitrogen ice and 1-2%
                                                       carbon monoxide ice
                                                  Moon -
                                                  Charon –
                                                      tidally locked with Pluto
                                                      half the size of Pluto, with a diameter of 1300km
                                                      thought to be predominantly composed of ice

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