Q:

What is the distance between Mars and Earth?

A:

The distance between Earth and Mars varies between 40 and 225 million miles. Since planets orbit the sun in an elliptical path rather than a circular path, the distance between the two planets changes throughout the year.

Every 26 months, Mars and Earth reach their closest point to one another. According to NASA, this is referred to as opposition of Mars because Mars and the sun are on the opposite side of Earth. When an opposition of Mars occurs, this nearby planet is easily visible in the night's sky along with its red tint, which is why it was nicknamed The Red Planet.

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    What is the composition of Uranus?

    A:

    Uranus is composed largely of hydrogen and helium like the other gas giants. It also has water ice, methane ice and ammonia ice. There are also tiny amounts of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and hydrocarbons such as ethane, acetylene, diacetylene and methylacetylene.

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    What does the word "planet" mean?

    A:

    The word "planet" in Greek means "wanderer." Planets were thought to be moving against the still background of stars. The planets move, or revolve, around the sun in relatively fixed orbits.

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    Why do the interiors of the Jovian planets differ?

    A:

    The interiors of the Jovian planets, also known as gas giants, are different because of their sizes. Jupiter and Saturn, the largest of the four Jovian planets, are massive enough to compress materials into a rocky core. Uranus and Neptune exert less pressure, which causes their cores to be in an icy, liquid state.

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    How many rings does Venus have?

    A:

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