Venus: Earth’s Evil Twin

Don’t Try to Travel to One of the Brightest Spots in the Night Sky

by Krista Reyes, age 14

While staring out into the black night sky, you can often see that Venus is one of the brightest objects in your view.

Venus is the second planet from the sun and is similar to Earth in size and mass. It’s also known as Earth’s twin sister. Both planets were born at about the same time, formed by similar materials, and had similar atmospheres.

But Venus is unique. It’s the only planet that takes longer to rotate than it does to orbit. (It takes 225 days to go around the sun and 243 days to turn once on its axis.) Its spins is east to west, the opposite direction of the Earth’s, so the sun sets in the east and rises in the west.

Named after the Roman goddess of love, most of Venus’s features have also been given female names. Its two main continents, Aphrodite Terra and Ishtar Terra, are named after the  Greek and the Babylonian goddesses of love.

Not so long ago, Venus was thought to be the best hope for finding life elsewhere in the solar system. As recently as the  1960’s, astronauts believed it might have extensive oceans of water, possibly covering the whole planet. It was also believed to be covered in swamps much like Earth during the Carboniferous period of the Paleozoic era (about 350 million years ago). With the extensive oceans and swamps, Venus was suspected to contain some forms of life. Space probes sent to Venus in the 1960’s and 70’s uncovered evidence that contradicts this theory. Not only is Venus very unlikely to have any kind of life, its extreme temperatures, crushing pressure, and suffocating atmosphere leave little hope  for human expeditions to the planet.

Just how unpleasant is Venus? Its surface is twice as hot as a typical oven, with an average surface temperature of 855 degrees Fahrenheit. Not only is Venus extremely hot, but the tremendous pressure on the planet is 1,300 pounds per square inch, 90 times more than what it is on Earth. The pressure is so high that standing on Venus it would feel like being at the bottom of a lake that is over 3,000 feet deep. On Venus, a person would be fried and crushed to death immediately.

Venus’ atmosphere is mostly carbon dioxide with thick clouds of sulfuric acid that make the sun, stars and other planets invisible from its surface. If the clouds weren’t so thick, the sun would look 1.4 times bigger from venus than it does from Earth. Also, Mercury would be the brightest object in the sky other than the sun. Earth would appear as a bright blue pebble.

Although Venus is considered to be Earth’s twin, I don’t think I’d want to live there. 

[Source: Secret of The Universe]

Now I'm like, well duh! Truly thkfunal for your help. – LynnNow I'm like, well duh! Truly thkfunal for your help. (2016-04-27 16:09)