Thursday, April 10, 2008

No Planet for Old Men


The Solar System


Earth and Venus formed from the same general region of the solar nebula, suggesting that their compositions are basically similar. They are roughly the same size, mass, and density. But whereas Earth has temperatures and conditions conductive to life, a variety of environments, and a robust magnetic field, Venus is a dry, hellish, high-pressure furnace whose magnetic field is not even strong enough to keep solar wind from stripping away the upper atmosphere.

Courtesy of NASA/JPL

Dear Layne,

I am out of Gerald Ford Museum postcards obtained in Grand Rapids recently, so Venus will have to do. GR is not a dry, hellish, high-pressure furnace, fortunately.


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