Earth and Our Solar System

Topics: Planet, Solar System, Jupiter Pages: 4 (1386 words) Published: April 29, 2008
Earth is the only planet in our solar system that sustains life, and therefore one of the most intriguing planets because of its capabilities. Each of the seven other planets that orbit the same sun as Earth is interesting in its own way. Some planets share similar characteristics to those found on Earth, while other planets are completely different. An analysis of these terrestrial bodies, using comparative planetology, will allow us examine these qualities. However, before beginning such a process we must first gain a through understanding of the makeup of our own planet, Earth.

We begin by identifying two types of families of planets, rocky terrestrials and gaseous jovians. The latter planet made of gas with no solid surface. The atmospheres of these gaseous giants show a thicker density as you move closer to the core. However, unlike Earth’s rocky surface a gaseous jovian cannot be stood on. The four gaseous jovians in our solar system are Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, and Uranus. Rocky terrestrials are the types of planets that possess a solid surface made of rock. Mars, Venus, and Mercury are examples of rocky terrestrials in our solar system. Of course, Earth is one of them as well.

Earth’s interior is comprised of three main layers, according to levels of density. The core consists of metals such as nickel alloy and iron and is known to be highly dense. The layer surrounding the core is called the mantle. This layer is less dense than the core and is very thick. The Earth’s mantle is made up of different minerals and has high ranges in temperatures. The third layer is the crust, a portion of mass that is very thin when compared to the other two layers. The crust is made up of basalt and granite, considered to be the lowest density rocks within all of the planet’s layers. Scientists have the capabilities to determine the internal structure of our planet by using readings of seismic waves created by earthquakes. There are two different types of waves that...
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