Inner Planets

By: Bryce Cox and Gaines Yates

Introduction

In our presentation, we will be discussing the 4 inner planets, which consist of Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars. We will also compare and contrast Earth to the 3 other inner planets. Let’s take a look at the 4 planets closest to the sun known as the inner planets.


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Mercury, Venus, and Mars

Mercury, Venus, and Mars are 3 of the inner planets, which means that they are located in between the Sun and the asteroid belt that is located in between Mars and Jupiter. Mercury is the closest planet to the sun at 35,983,095 miles away. Venus is next in the solar system at 67,237,910 miles away from the Sun. Next in the solar system is planet Earth but we will discuss Earth later in the presentation. The last of the inner planets is Mars, which is 141,633,260 miles away from the sun. These three planets cannot sustain life. One reason these planets cannot sustain life is because of their extreme temperatures. For example, Mercury’s temperature can range up to 801 degrees F and down to -279 degrees F. Venus’ average temperature is about 864 degrees F, and Mars’ temperature can range anywhere from -125 degrees F to 23 degrees F. With extreme temperatures like these, it is obvious that these three inner planets can not sustain life. These 3 planets range in size. Mercury, the smallest of the inner planets is only 3,032 miles in diameter and Mars, another relatively small inner planet, is 4,222 miles in diameter. However, Venus is larger measuring at 7,521 miles in diameter. All of these planets are terrestrial planets, meaning that they are made of rocks and metals. These inner planets also have little or no moons. In fact, Mars has the most moons out of the inner planets with only two. Mercury and Venus do not have any moons. Now it is time to discuss the inner planet that we call our home, Earth.



Earth

Now that we have discussed the three other inner planets, it is time to discuss the planet we call our own, Earth. Earth is the third closest planet to the sun at 92,955,820 miles away from the Sun located in between Venus and Mars. Earth is the only known planet that sustains life. The temperature on Earth ranges anywhere from -136 degrees F to 136 degrees F. Its distance from the Sun makes the climate just right for sustaining life. Earth is 7,926 miles in diameter, which makes it the largest of the inner planets. Earth has just one moon which affects the tides of Earth’s oceans. Our Earth is terrestrial meaning that it is made out of rocks and metals. Earth has water on its surface, allowing it to sustain life. Earth is certainly the right place for life to occur.



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Comparison Between Earth and the Other Inner Planets

Our Earth has a lot of similarities and differences with the other 3 inner planets. First of all, both Earth and the other inner planets are terrestrial or made of rocks and metals. Like the other inner planets, our Earth is located in between the asteroid belt, which separates the inner and outer planets, and the Sun. This is why Earth along with Mercury, Venus, and Mars are considered inner planets. Also, all of the inner planets including Earth orbit the sun because of the Sun’s gravitational pull. One last similarity between Earth and the other inner planets is that they have little or no moons. Unlike the outer planets, which have many moons, Earth and Mars are the only inner planets to have any moons. Mars has 2 moons, Earth has 1 moon, and Mercury and Venus do not have any moons.

However, there are some distinct differences between Earth and the other inner planets. First of all, Earth is the only inner planet, and the only planet in our solar system that can sustain life. This is because Earth’s distance from the sun creates a range of temperatures that is just right for sustaining life. Earth is also the only known planet that contains water, a vital substance for living organisms. Earth's atmosphere is also very different than the other inner planet's atmospheres. Earth's atmosphere is made up of 78 percent nitrogen, 21 percent oxygen, and 1 percent other. Other inner planets do not have as big of an atmosphere, or some planets like Venus have an atmosphere composed of mostly carbon dioxide or other gases. Earth is also the largest inner planet at 7,926 miles in diameter. However Venus, also known as Earth’s sister planet, is very close in size at 7,521 miles in diameter. All of the inner planets have different temperatures because of their different distances from the Sun. However one thing that Earth does have in common with Mercury, Venus, and Mars is that they all depend and orbit around one star, the Sun.



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Conclusion

In our presentation we discussed Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars and compared Earth to the 3 other inner planets. All of the inner planets have some things in common. For instance, they are all made out of rock and metal. However, there are some differences between Earth and the other inner planets. For example, Earth is the only inner planet and the only known planet that can sustain life. Earth definitely stands out in a group of interesting inner planets.



Works Cited: Resources

Gammon, Katharine. "Terrestrial Planets: Definition & Facts About the Inner Planets."Space.com. Tech Media Network, 9 Aug. 2012. Web. 10 Jan. 2014.


"Solar System Exploration: : Planets." Solar System Exploration: : Planets. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Jan. 2014.



"Solar System." National Geographic. National Geographic Society, n.d. Web. 10 Jan. 2014.