The garden Jack and others planted LAST week is growing, our potatoes have come up, so has the seed of rocket. It works.
Wink Murder, to warm us up.
Venus and Mars, our near neighbours, the two planets that sandwich our earth, we patched these two together. Just the night before Brian Cox gave an exposition on Mars (https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p06qj2qg/the-planets-series-1-2-the-two-sisters-earth-mars). Rachel dressed in red, and this time Bo gave the lesson. He completely grasped the different orbiting and rotations.
Venus is the second planet from the Sun and sometimes called Earths Sister – Venus is only slightly smaller than Earth (95% of Earth’s diameter, 80% of Earth’s mass).
Both have few craters indicating relatively young surfaces.
Slowest rotation and retrograde
Venus’ orbit of the sun is 224.65 earth day. The period of rotation for Venus is 243 days the slowest rotation of any planet. In other words, Venus takes 243 days to turn once on its axis. That seems like a long time, and it is. Especially when you consider that a year on Venus only lasts 224.7 days.
Most planets also rotate on their axes in an anti-clockwise direction, but Venus rotates clockwise (called “retrograde” rotation).
Venus is the second brightest object in the night sky after the Moon.
Hotter than Mercury
Venus is the hottest planet in our solar system. This hostile world is covered in thousands of volcanoes and is encased in a dense layer of toxic clouds, swept along by constant hurricane-force winds.
There are several layers of clouds up to 80 kilometers thick composed of sulphuric acid. These clouds obscure our view of the surface. This dense atmosphere produces a run-away greenhouse effect that raises Venus’ surface temperature by about 400 degrees to over 740 K (hot enough to melt lead). Venus’ surface is actually hotter than Mercury’s despite being nearly twice as far from the Sun. The atmosphere combined with the extreme temperature and hurricane-force winds, moving at roughly 350 kilometres per hour, make Venus inhospitable.
Venus (Greek: Aphrodite; Babylonian: Ishtar) is the goddess of love and beauty.
The first spacecraft to visit Venus was Mariner 2 in 1962. Since then it has been visited by many others (more than 20 in all so far), including Pioneer Venus and the Soviet Venera 7 and Venera 9 which returned the first photographs of the surface. The first orbiter, the US spacecraft Magellan radar map produced detailed maps of Venus’ surface using radar. ESA’s Venus Express launched in November of 2005 and arrived at Venus in April 2006. The Venus Express is conducting atmospheric studies, mapping the Venusian surface temperatures and the plasma environment.
The last of the terrestrial planets, named after the Roman god of war, the Greek God Ares. May be because of its red colour. Chinese astronomers call Mars the “fire star” while ancient Egyptian priests called it “Her Desher” meaning “the red one”.
Similar to Earth
The surface gravity of Mars is about 37% the gravity found on Earth. This means that on Mars you could in theory jump 3x higher than you could on Earth.
After Earth Mars is the most hospitable to life – a number of space missions are planning for the next decade the further increase our understanding of Mars and when it has the potential for extraterrestrial life, as well as whether it may be a viable planet for a colony
Mars is the only other planet besides Earth that has polar ice caps. The northern cap is called the Planum Boreum, with Planum Australe in the south. Water ice has also been found under the Martian ice caps.
Mars has seasons like Earth, but they last twice as long. This is because Mars is tilted on its axis by about 25.19 degrees, which is similar to the axial tilt of the Earth (22.5 degrees).
The orbit of Mars is the most eccentric of the eight planets. It is the least circular orbit path of the planets. 687 Earth days to orbit the Sun
Only 16 of the 39 Mars missions have been successful. Beginning with the USSR’s Marsnik 1 1960, 39 orbiters, landers and rovers have been to Mars but only 16 of those missions were a success. In 2016, Europe’s Exobiology on Mars program will search the planet for signs of Martian life as well as study the surface and terrain of the planet and map potential environmental hazards to future manned missions to Mars.
Mars was once believed to be home to intelligent life. This came from the discovery of lines or grooves in the surface called canali by Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli. He believed that these were not naturally occurring and were proof of intelligent life. However, these were later shown to be an optical illusion
The tallest mountain known in the solar system is on Mars. Olympus Mons is a 21 km high and 600 km diameter shield volcano that was formed billions of years ago.
Dust storms – the largest in our solar system. This is due to the elliptical shape of the planet’s orbit path around the Sun. The orbit path is more elongated than many of the other planets and this oval shaped orbit results in fierce dust storms that cover the entire planet and can last for many months
The two moons of Mars, Phobos and Deimos, were written about in the book ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ by author Jonathan Swift – 151 years before they were discovered.