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The Solar System Facts: What You Need to Know

2 min read

The solar system is a fascinating subject that has intrigued scientists and space enthusiasts for centuries. With its vast expanse and numerous celestial bodies, there is always something new to discover. In this article, we will explore some interesting facts about the solar system.



Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun and is named after the Roman god of speed. It is the smallest planet in the solar system and does not have any moons. Its surface is covered in craters and it experiences extreme temperature fluctuations.

Size and Composition

Mercury is the smallest planet in the solar system, with a diameter of approximately 4,879 kilometers. Its composition consists mainly of rocky material, similar to Earth’s crust. However, Mercury has a much higher iron content, giving it a higher density compared to other planets.

The surface of Mercury is heavily cratered, resembling the Moon’s surface. These craters were formed by meteorite impacts throughout its history. Some of the largest craters on Mercury are Caloris Basin, which is about 1,550 kilometers in diameter, and Rachmaninoff Basin, which is about 300 kilometers in diameter.

Despite its small size, Mercury has a substantial iron core, making up about 42% of its volume. This core generates a magnetic field, although it is much weaker compared to Earth’s magnetic field.

Extreme Temperature

Due to its proximity to the Sun, Mercury experiences extreme temperature variations. During its daytime, the surface temperature can reach scorching highs of around 430 degrees Celsius (800 degrees Fahrenheit). However, because Mercury has virtually no atmosphere to trap heat, the temperature drops dramatically during the night, plunging to lows of around -180 degrees Celsius (-290 degrees Fahrenheit).

These extreme temperature fluctuations pose significant challenges for any potential future missions to Mercury. The intense heat can damage spacecraft, while the extreme cold can cause materials to become brittle and break.

Exploration and Discoveries

Our knowledge about Mercury has greatly expanded through various missions and flybys. NASA’s Mariner 10 was the first spacecraft to visit Mercury in 1974, followed by the more recent Messenger mission, which orbited the planet from 2011 to 2015.

These missions revealed several interesting facts about Mercury. For example, scientists discovered that Mercury has a thin atmosphere, called an exosphere, consisting of atoms blasted off its surface by the solar wind. They also observed evidence of water ice in permanently shadowed craters near Mercury’s poles.

Future missions, such as the European Space Agency’s BepiColombo mission scheduled for launch in 2022, aim to further explore and study the planet, providing us with even more insights into this intriguing world.



Venus is often referred to as Earth’s twin due to its similar size and composition. It is the hottest planet in the solar system with a thick atmosphere that traps heat. Venus has no moons and is known for its bright appearance in the sky.

Size and Composition

Venus is the second planet from the Sun and has a diameter of approximately 12,104 kilometers, making it slightly smaller than Earth. It is often called Earth’s twin because of its similar size, mass, and composition.

The composition of Venus is primarily made up of a thick atmosphere composed mainly of carbon dioxide, with traces of nitrogen and other gases. The atmosphere is so dense that it creates a strong greenhouse effect, trapping heat and causing Venus to have the highest surface temperature of any planet in the solar system.

Beneath its atmosphere, Venus has a rocky mantle and a metallic core, similar to Earth. However, the surface of Venus is inhospitable, with high temperatures, crushing atmospheric pressure, and toxic sulfuric acid clouds.

Extreme Atmospheric Conditions

Venus has one of the most hostile environments in the solar system, with extreme atmospheric conditions that make it uninhabitable for humans. The atmospheric pressure on Venus is about 92 times greater than Earth’s, equivalent to being under a kilometer of water.

The thick atmosphere of Venus creates a runaway greenhouse effect, trapping heat and leading to surface temperatures that can reach up to a scorching 471 degrees Celsius (880 degrees Fahrenheit). This makes Venus the hottest planet in our solar system, even hotter than Mercury, despite being farther from the Sun.

In addition to the high temperatures, Venus has dense clouds of sulfuric acid that completely obscure its surface from view. These clouds reflect sunlight, giving Venus its bright appearance in the sky.

Missions and Discoveries

Exploring Venus has proven to be a significant challenge due to its harsh conditions. Several spacecraft have been sent to study the planet, including NASA’s Mariner and Magellan missions, as well as the Soviet Union’s Venera missions.

These missions revealed fascinating insights into Venus, including detailed mapping of its surface using radar and the discovery of volcanic activity. The Magellan mission, for example, produced high-resolution images of the planet’s surface, unveiling vast volcanic plains, towering mountains, and impact craters.

Future missions, such as NASA’s upcoming VERITAS (Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography, and Spectroscopy) mission, will delve deeper into Venus’ mysteries, focusing on understanding its geological history and the presence of active volcanoes.

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Paul Explore the cosmos, embrace science, and unlock the mysteries of space at Your universe awaits!

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