Q:

What are the inner planets made of?

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Quick Answer

The inner planets are made of rocks and metals and are called the terrestrial planets. They are Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars. As of 2014, Earth is the only terrestrial planet known to have life.

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Mercury is the closest inner planet to the sun. It has very little atmosphere and is pockmarked with craters. It's made mostly of iron and nickel and, like Earth, is believed to have a molten iron core. The crust of Mercury is made of silicates.

Venus is notorious both for its beauty in the morning and evening skies and also for its atmosphere, which is thick with clouds made of sulfuric acid. Venus also has an iron core, but it spins so slowly that the planet doesn't have a global magnetic field like Earth. Venus is so geologically active, with many volcanoes, that its surface features change constantly.

Earth is not only made of rocks and metals, but it is also covered in water, which allows it to support life.

The red soil of Mars indicates that the iron within it has oxidized. Mars might also have liquid water, but its atmosphere is so thin that the water probably sublimates, or turns directly from water to gas. Mars seems to have water ice at its poles.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What are characteristics of inner planets and outer planets?

    A:

    The inner planets of the solar system are small, rocky worlds that have very few moons. The outer planets are composed primarily of gases and are much larger than the inner planets. All four of the outer planets have a system of rings and are orbited by multiple moons.

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  • Q:

    What are planets made of?

    A:

    The inner planets, Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars, are made up of silicate rock and heavy metals such as iron and nickel, whereas the outer planets, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, are made up mostly of gases, according to Universe Today. The outer planets are subdivided into gas giants, comprised mostly of hydrogen and helium, and ice giants, comprised mostly of methane, ammonia and water.

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    Why are Jovian planets bigger than terrestrial planets?

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    The size difference between the Jovian and terrestrial planets in the solar system occurs because of the planets' proximity to the Sun and chemical composition. Jovian planets lie beyond the frost line, which separates the four terrestrial planets from the gaseous Jovian planets. Despite residing farther from the Sun, the Jovian planets have larger sizes than terrestrial planets due to their gaseous compositions and stronger gravitational fields, which help pull objects to their surfaces, ultimately increasing their sizes.

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  • Q:

    Do any planets have oxygen in their atmospheres?

    A:

    In addition to Earth, the terrestrial planets of Mars, Venus and Mercury have oxygen in their atmospheres. The atmospheres of these planets, along with the others in the solar system, contain many different substances. The amount of oxygen in their atmospheres varies; Earth contains the most oxygen while Mars and Venus have smaller amounts and more carbon dioxide.

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