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Venus – Earth’s Evil (?) Twin
The second planet from the Sun, Venus is Earth's “sister" planet, comparable
in size and mass.
Unlike Earth, Venus has unusual rotation properties:
 One Venusian rotation period takes 243 Earth days.
 Venus rotates in a retrograde sense, i.e., backwards, compared to the
other planets.
 A day on Venus (noon to noon) lasts 117 Earth days.
Venus possesses a dense atmosphere and is completely enshrouded in
clouds. The surface is NOT visible from above, except using cloudpenetrating radar. Nothing was known about the Venusian surface prior to the
space age.
The atmosphere is about 90 times more massive than Earth's and contains
96% carbon dioxide. Venusian clouds are composed of sulfuric acid, and lie
at a altitude between 50 and 60 kilometers above the surface
A runaway greenhouse effect has occurred on Venus. Carbon dioxide in the
atmosphere traps infrared radiation, powering this process. Long ago the
water present early in Venusian history boiled away.
Due to the greenhouse effect in its dense atmosphere, Venus' mean surface
temperature is about 730 K (900 F). The dense atmosphere insures that the
entire surface has about the same temperature
The surface has been mapped using radar, both from Earth and using
spacecraft placed into orbit around Venus.
Although many volcanic features are found on the surface, there is no
evidence for wide-scale plate tectonics. Venus is a hot, dry, and rocky world.
Due to its slow rotation, Venus does not possess a planetary magnetic field.
Although no “smoking volcano” has yet been pinpointed, evidence suggests
that volcanic activity continues at present, and is the dominant process
shaping the Venusian surface today.