Explore BrainMass

Planetary evolution and the early solar system

F. Which is hotter, Mercury or Venus? Why?
h. Explain why there are two general families of planets, rocky terrestrial and gaseous jovian.
j. What knowledge do comets and asteroids provide to studies of the origin of the solar system?

© BrainMass Inc. brainmass.com June 24, 2018, 5:26 am ad1c9bdddf

Solution Preview

Venus surface temperature is hotter than the surface temperature of mercury.
While the surface temperature on mercury can vary between 90 to 700 degrees Kelvin (depends if the surface is exposed to the sun) the surface temperature on Venus is very stable and slightly hotter - 740 degrees Kelvin.

The main reason for this phenomenon is the fact that Mercury does not have any atmosphere, while Venus has a thick atmosphere composed mostly of carbon dioxide with some sulfuric acid.

As we well know from earth, Carbon dioxide is a "greenhouse gas", which means that most of the sun light reflected from the surface of Venus is captured by the carbon dioxide and turns into heat.

Since mercury has no atmosphere, such heat buildup is not possible and most of the light energy hitting mercury's surface is reflected unabated to space.

This is why Venus surface is hotter than Mercury's

There are two types of planets in our solar system: the inner planets (Mercury, Venus Earth ...

Solution Summary

The solution discusses the conditions in the early solar system and the different planetary evolution paths.