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The interior of Venus.
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The Interior of Venus

Venus is a slightly smaller than the Earth, with a diameter 95% that of Earth (12,103 km) and a mass 81% that of Earth. If we could walk around on the surface of the planet (without being killed by the toxic blast furnace of an atmosphere), gravity would be close to that on the surface of Earth.


Because Venus is so close to Earth in the solar system and is about the same size, we would expect that it would have been composed initially of somewhat similar materials, would have experienced a somewhat similar history, and would have a somewhat similar interior. We now know, however, that there are differences between Earth and Venus, not only in it's atmosphere but also on it's surface. The varied terrain of Venus, including volcanoes, mountains, craters, and lava flows, suggests that the planet was once, and perhaps still is, geologically active. Scientists are unsure whether volcanic activity continues on the planet, although we know it did in the past, and still have basic questions about the interior of Venus, such as the thickness of the lithosphere.


Nonetheless, the interior of Venus is probably similar to Earth's interior, with a partly molten metallic core, a rocky mantle, and a crust. The extremely slow rotation of the planet -- at 243 Earth days even longer than it's orbital period around the Sun, about 225 Earth days -- may explain the lack of a planetary magnetic field such as those exhibited by many of the other planets, including Earth.


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An Overview of the Interior and Surface of Venus

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The planet Venus periodically passes directly between Earth and the Sun. This event, which is somewhat similar to a solar eclipse, is called a transit of Venus. Viewed from Earth, Venus and Mercury are...more

The Poles of Venus

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The Polar Atmosphere of Venus

Venus has odd, swirling vortices in its atmosphere above each of the planet's poles. These vortex structures were first detected over the North Pole by NASA's Pioneer Venus Orbiter in 1978. The European...more

The Cooling of Venus

A planet goes through cycles of history depending upon how it cools in time. The following may be the history of Venus. Venus formed about 4 Billion Years ago. at the conclusion of forming it continued...more

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA