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Mercury and Venus

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Now the bright morning-star,
Day's harbinger,
Comes dancing from the East...

John Milton
Song on May Morning

Questions to Explore:
  • Why does Mercury show a much wider range of temperatures than the Earth does?
  • What does the surface of Mercury tell us about the history of the planet?
  • Why is Mercury so dense?
  • How has Mercury’s small diameter influenced its internal evolution?
  • Why is the atmosphere of Venus so much hotter and thicker than that of the Earth?
  • Does the surface of Venus show that the same kinds of internal activity have occurred on both Venus and the Earth?
  • If Venus and the Earth began to evolve under similar conditions, what accounts for the large differences that exist today?

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