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Conceptual Questions


What are two reasons why Mercury's surface gets so cold at night?

Describe the way in which the scarps of Mercury were probably produced.

What is the principal reason that astronomers think Mercury has a large metallic core?

How do the Moon and Mercury differ with respect to crater density, the relative number of small craters, and the proximity of ejected material to the impact site? How can these differences be accounted for?

If the cloud layer of Venus is so thick, how is it possible for any sunlight to reach the surface of the planet?

What makes the greenhouse effect for Venus so much more effective than the Earth's greenhouse effect? (You might want to review the description of the greenhouse effect in Chapter 8.)

Why does the surface of Venus appear orange in the Venera images?

What evidence do we have that most of the surface of Venus has been flooded with lava during the past 800 million years?

If Venus had plate tectonics, what kinds of features should be visible in the Magellan images?

Without plate tectonics, how could the crustal deformations of Venus have been produced?

Why does Venus have so much carbon dioxide in its atmosphere as compared with the Earth?

The atmospheres of Venus and the Earth may originally have been quite similar. What may have happened to cause their more recent evolution to diverge so strongly?

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