Venus and Mars share many traits with Earth but there also apparent differences. The former has an atmosphere filled with poisonous gas while the other has traced of what used to be a functional atmosphere.
If we were to travel back in time almost 4.6 billion years ago, we would see a different situation. The planets come from the same massive agglomeration of dust and cosmic gas, with a young sun being visible in the center. As time passed gravity allowed dust to gather into boulders, which evolved into planets.
The material rich in rocks was able to face the heat of the sun while materials which contained a large amount of gas or ice, which were encountered at a greater distance. The remnants became asteroids and comets.
How can Venus and Mars help us learn more about Earth?
In the case of rocky planets, the atmosphere formed as a consequence of several energetic processes, with the largest one being outgassing as the core began to cool. Time plays a significant role in the equation since a large variety of factors led to surprising outcomes. Out of all the planets, Earth is the only one who can support life and feature liquid water on the surface.
While smaller than Earth, Venus may feature volcanic activity even today, and lava may have reached the surface a few years ago. Recent surveys failed to observe a prominent plate tectonics system and. Some have compared the volcanic activity which took place on the planet in the past with lava lamps.
Mars is considerably smaller than Venus and Earth. When the volcanic activity ceased, a vital component of the atmosphere replenishing circuit disappeared. It is interesting that the largest volcano in the entire solar system can be found on Mars. By understanding the evolution of these planets, we can understand more about in which our climate changes and evolves. It is likely that more information will be uncovered in the future.
Brad is a former Senior Fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, is an award-winning travel, culture, and parenting writer. His writing has appeared in many of the Canada’s most respected and credible publications, including the Toronto Star, CBC News and on the cover of Smithsonian Magazine. A meticulous researcher who’s not afraid to be controversial, he is nationally known as a journalist who opens people’s eyes to the realities behind accepted practices in the care of children. Brad is a contributing journalist to Advocator.ca