Facts about Planets

Facts about Planets.

Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun. It is also the smallest of all the planets and has the shortest orbit. The Sun is so close that its powerful rays make Mercury one of the brightest planets. Look carefully to see Mercury low in the sky just after sunset or before dawn. From Earth, Mercury looks like a distant star. Due to its shorter orbit, a year on Mercury lasts only eighty-eight earth days.

Big and small holes cover Mercury. Over billions of years, large numbers of meteoroids and comets have crashed into Mercury. They created deep holes called craters in the planet's surface. In 1974, a spacecraft, Mariner 10, flew within 437 miles (703 kilometers) of Mercury. There are a few Photos taken by Mariner 10 give close-up views of the craters. Mercury’s largest crater is about 800 miles (1300 kilometers) across – about the distance from New York to Chicago.

Venus is the hottest planet because it is close to the SUN and also wrapped IN thick Clouds. The heat from the Sun passes through the clouds and warms the planet's dry, rocky surface. Then the clouds work like blankets. They hold in the heat and do not let it escape. This traps the Sun's powerful heat on Venus's surface and makes the planet very hot. The air on Venus is mostly carbon dioxide.

The Surface of Earth has much more water than land. 70.8 percent of Earth's surface is covered in water. From space, Earth looks like a giant ball of blue with a few other colors. The blue is Earth's oceans. The white is the clouds above Earth or parts of the surface that are covered with ice. The brown or green that shows through the clouds is rocks, soil and plants. The oceans hold 97 percent of the water on earth.

None of the other plants has one Single MOON. The other planets have anywhere from zero to more than sixty moons. Each moon is a ball of rock that orbits the planet. Moons are always smaller than the planets they travel around, lust like planets. The moons reflect the light they get from the Sun. Earth’s moon circles the planet once every twenty-nine days.

Earth’s moon has NO wind or other weather. On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first person to walk on the Moon. Over the years, eleven other astronauts followed. They did not find any signs of weather on its surface — and Neil Armstrong's footprints were still there. Without wind or rain, the footsteps the astronauts left behind may be there forever. Earth’s moon is our closest neighbor in space.

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