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Name: _____________________________________Date: ________________
Earth Science
Mr. Herman
Exeter SHS
Chapter 23.2 The Terrestrial Planets
Define: Terrestrial planets
Draw and label the terrestrial planets of our solar system (remember to include the sun
and the moons of the planets) color if you would like.
Questions for discussion
1. Which terrestrial planet is the smallest (diameter)?
2. Which terrestrial planet has the most livable atmosphere?
3. What does an atmosphere do for a planet?
4. Which terrestrial planet has the most toxic atmosphere? What is it made out of?
5. What planet is called the “red planet”?
6. Why is it called the “red planet”?
7. What terrestrial planets have little to no atmosphere?
8. Why does it get so hot and then so cold on Mercury?
9. Why does Venus look yellow from space?
10. Why does the Earth look blue from space?
11. What is the physical separation between the terrestrial planets and the jovian
12. What planet is called Earth’s twin? Why?
13. How many moons in total do the terrestrial planets include?
14. Why do you think the terrestrial planets are rocky in opposition to the gaseous
jovian planets?
Describe the distinguishing characteristics of each terrestrial planet
Mercury: The Innermost Planet
 Mercury is the innermost and second smallest planet; it is hardly larger than
Earth’s moon.
Surface Features
 Mercury has cratered highlands, much like the moon, and vast smooth terrains
that resemble maria.
Surface Temperatures
 Mercury has the greatest temperature extremes of any planet.
Mercury’s Surface
Venus: The Veiled Planet
Surface Temperatures
 The surface temperature of Venus reaches 475oC, and its atmosphere is 97 percent
carbon dioxide.
Venus is similar to Earth in size, density, mass, and location in the solar system. Thus, it
has been referred to as “Earth’s twin.”
Surface Features
 Venus is covered in thick clouds that visible light cannot penetrate.
 About 80 percent of Venus’s surface consists of plains covered by volcanic flow.
Mars: The Red Planet
Water on Mars
 Some areas of Mars exhibit drainage patterns similar to those created by streams
on Earth.
 Images from the Mars Global Surveyor indicate that groundwater has recently
migrated to the surface.
Water on Mars