Photos of the Sun

Venus surface. The Sun, Mercury and Venus

Venus surface. The Sun, Mercury and Venus

Venus is slightly smaller than Earth. Both have few craters, indicating that their surfaces are relatively young, and their densities and chemical compositions are similar. Because of these coincidences, it was thought that under its dense layer of clouds Venus could be similar to our planet and even harbor life. Later studies revealed that Venus is radically different from Earth.

The pressure on the surface of Venus equals 90 times the pressure on the surface of our planet, the same that exists 1 kilometer deep in the ocean. The atmosphere is mainly composed of carbon dioxide. There are many layers of clouds several kilometers thick, composed of sulfuric acid, which completely cover the planet's surface. The dense atmosphere produces a greenhouse effect that raises the temperature to 477º C on the surface. For this reason, Venus has a temperature higher than that of Mercury despite being almost twice the distance from the Sun.

Venus probably once had large amounts of water on its surface, as did our planet, but it boiled and evaporated definitively. Venus is completely dry today; Earth would have followed the same fate if its orbit brought it a little closer to the Sun.

Most of the surface of Venus consists of smooth plains with little decline. There are also ample depressions and a couple of highland areas. A large part of the surface of Venus is covered by lava rivers. There are many great volcanoes off. Venus is still volcanically active only in certain places. For the most part the surface has been geologically calm in the last million years.

There are no small craters on Venus. Apparently, smaller meteors are sprayed in their dense atmosphere before reaching the surface. The craters on Venus almost always appear grouped, indicating that the large meteors that reach the surface are fragmented in the atmosphere during the fall. The oldest land on Venus has an age of about 800 million years. The intense volcanic activity of that era eliminated the features of the previous surface, including the great craters of the early times of Venus.

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Album: Photos of the Solar System Gallery: The Sun, Mercury and Venus