Trivia Break: Venus

>> Friday, July 17, 2009

Since I'm not really here, I thought I'd take a day of trivia and, in the interest of the Apollo 11 anniversary, I thought I'd give you space trivia.

Since it's my favorite planet, I thought I'd start with Venus, one interesting little gem. Often described as Earth's twin she's slightly smaller and slightly closer to the sun with an atmosphere and continents hidden beneath her dense clouds. She has similar composition and density to the Earth, at 95% of Earth's diameter and 80% of her mass.

But she won't be ready for people to inhabit her any time soon - if ever. The clouds visible aren't water vapor but sulfur dioxide and sulfuric acid. Doesn't that sound fun. The pressure is 90 atmospheres, 90X higher than it is at sea level here. And it's hot. Not like Houston's hot, but hot enough, literally, to melt lead: 740K . Venus, though scientists think it once had water, and oxygen and all that good stuff - perhaps even life once - is now one of the least hospitable places in the solar systems. If there ever was life there, I doubt we'll ever know it.

There are active volcanos on Venus, large, flat volcanoes of the hotspot variety (as opposed to techtonic plates) that spew vast amount of lava. But I think one of the coolest things about Venus is the fact that it not only spins backwards (on of only two planets that do) but spins veeeeeeeery slooooooowly. In fact, the Venusian year is 224.7 years, but the Venusian day is 243 days long.

Space is fun.


  • Shakespeare

    That is too cool. And the picture! WOW! And think, I'd have forever to work every day, and I could get so much done in a year on that planet. Then again, my laptop would melt, and I would too, so the whole point is moot.

    Any details about Saturn? It's my personal favorite, after Earth (since Earth gives me an actual place to exist).

  • Stephanie B

    Sure, I can do that as a regular question. I'll put it in the queue

  • The Mother

    How is it that Venus spins backward? Shouldn't the momentum that created the solar system keep everything spinning the same direction?

  • Aron Sora

    You have to check out this idea

    Venus is epic and competes with Mars because of this.

  • Stephanie B

    The Mother, I think that spinning in the direction of the orbit makes sense and is what would be expected. But, for whatever reason, reality is different (and, in fact, there are two planets that spin "backwards"). I don't know why Venus does, though I could explore that as an official question.

    Year length, now, that's determined by distance to the sun and the eccentricity of the orbit. I think one orbit backwards, but the length of the year would be fixed.

  • The Mother

    Consider it an official question, then. I've always been curious, but never bothered to explore it---

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