Why is the Earth so different from Venus, and for that matter from Mars and Mercury? Venus, as massive as the Earth, has a thick atmosphere of carbon dioxide, which keeps the surface of the planet well above the boiling point of water. Mars, smaller than the Earth and further from the Sun, has a tenuous atmosphere of carbon dioxide. Mercury, the innermost planet, is simply bare rock. How did the inner planets of the solar system acquire these features?
The truth is that nobody knows for sure. At some level, the explanation must involve accidents going back to the…
Register today to continue reading
You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.
You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.
Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.
Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.
Already a subscriber? Log in here