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Solar System Science Olympiad
Terms in this set (43)
How did the terrestrial planets form?
In the proto-Solar-Sytem, after the sun formed, the rest of the materials orbiting close around it began to clump together too. However, closer to the sun, lighter materials like gases blew away and only rocky material was left, causing the four terrestrial planets, and some of their moons, to form.
What are the characteristics of Terrestrial Planets?
Solid bodies with a core surrounded by a mantle and crust. Comprised mostly of heavier materials, like rocks, stones, and heavy metals like nickel and iron. They are smaller in size than the gas giants and very dense in comparison.
How old is the Solar System?
4.6 billion years.
How did Mercury form?
Like the rest of the terrestrial planets, Mercury was formed 4.55 billion years ago and is primarily rocky. After the sun's formation, the rocks and metals very close it it began to come together to form Mercury. However, all of Mercury's gases and atmosphere were blown away, leading to it being small, but even more rocky than the other planets.
How did Venus form?
Venus, like Mercury, was formed by rocks and metals coming together to form a large planet. However, solar winds are too weak to blow away Venus' atmosphere, and the heat has led to a greenhouse gas effect, causing the planet to be especially hot, even more so than Mercury, though being further away.
How did Earth form?
Earth formed in the same way as the rest of the terrestrial planets. However, another large body slammed into Earth (which used to be larger) and the material from that body and the chunk of Earth blown off formed the moon, which is why is has such a large size in comparison to Earth.
How did Mars form?
Mars was most likely very similar to Earth, and it had formed the same way as well. It possibly even had large oceans. However, for unknown reasons, they have dried up, leading to Mars' nickname as "The Red Planet."
How did the Moon form?
Long ago, when the Earth was younger, and larger, another body slammed into it. This body blew into pieces that began to orbit the Earth, along with chunks of Earth blown off from the impact. Together, these formed the Moon, being responsible for its relatively large size.
What are the surface features of Mercury?
Mercury's surface is made of volcanic basalt (a hint towards prior geologic activity) and is very smooth. However, Mercury has a no real atmosphere, allowing almost any incoming asteroids to impact, though they are stopped by it's thick mantle. As a result, Mercury looks like a smooth, dark grey planet peppered with large and small round imprints. Mercury also has ridges all across it's surface. As the magma on Mercury cools, it shrinks, since solids are more compact than liquids. Mercury's surface is also made up of intercrater plains, accounting for almost half of the planet's surface area. Intercrater plains are made up of flatter lands containing older more shallow craters, while smooth plains are made up of newer land and more recent deeper craters. Smooth plains make up around 15% of mercury's surface
What are the internal features of Mercury?
Mercury has an extremely large core relative to its size. The core is mostly iron and iron compounds and is about 1800 km in diameter. The mantle and crust are only 600 km in Diameter, and are mostly silicates. This is because the temperature of the early son evaporated and destroyed a large portion of the rocky material, causing the core to be larger than it normally would be, as it is the size of a core in what would be a much larger planet. The core seems to have a liquid outer core and superdense solid liquid core.
Features to look for in identifying Mercury?
Dark Grey surface, round, shallow imprints into the surface, a relatively smooth surface, a relatively large core of iron and iron compounds, and a planet about 2500 km in diameter.
Surface features of Venus?
Venus' surface appears red due to the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, but its surface is covered in lava from volcanic activity, basaltic rocks, and sulfuric acid. It has very few craters, since the extremely heavy atmosphere destroys any craters that would impact. Only strong asteroids can survive, of which there are very few. There are two "continents"- Ishtar Terra and Aphrodite Terra. These are the few parts of Venus with solid land, and are made of mostly rough, patchy rocks with valleys and canyons. The rest of the surface is mostly melted rock- lava and magma.
Internal features of Venus'?
Venus' internal surface is mostly normal, with a metallic core, rocky mantle and crust. However, about 300-500 million years ago, there seems to have been a "resurfacing" in which large amounts of magma rose from the mantle to the surface, causing "lava oceans" along the surface.
Features to look for to identify Venus?
Bright orange or red surface, lava oceans, a pinkish, tan, atmosphere, few craters due to an atmosphere, about 38,000 km in circumference. There are two continents on the planet, made of rough, patchy soil. A large belt of lava surrounding the planet.
Surface feature of Mars?
Grainy, rocky surface whittled away into most pebbles and boulders. Large dust storms cover the planet. Lots of craters and mountains, including both the tallest mountain, Olympus Mons, and the deepest canyon, the Maris Vallerinis, in the entire solar system. It also has polar caps.
Interior of Mars?
Mars has a core relatively larger than Earths- about 1/2 of its total radius. It is metallic, like all the planets. Mars' mantle is made of rocky peridotite, a rock made of silicon, oxygen, iron, and magnesium. Not much is known about it.
Features to look for to identify Mars?
A red surface, covered in dust and small rocks, like a giant, rocky plain. Extremely large mountains and canyons fill the landscape, along with a few craters. Two polar ice caps and large, dark waves across the planet.
Surface Features of the Moon?
Relatively large, very reflective and a lightish grey color. Covered in craters, but aside from that relatively smooth. The craters also seem to bulge out of the surface, making it seem like parts of the surface were pushed out like putty. The dividing line between day and night on the moon is called the "Terminator"
Internal Features of the Moon?
The Moon consists of a small core, about 400 km in radius, surrounded by a mantle and a "moonquake zone" in which moonquakes, the lunar counterpart of an earthquake, are caused. The core is metallic, and the mantle contains more iron, and is made of olivine, orthopyroxene, and clinopyroxene.
What is the Moon's mantle made of?
Olivine, Orthopyroxene, and Clinopyroxene.
Features to look for to identify the Moon?
A round and light gray surface, with craters that are surrounded by a pushed up surface, a mantle made of Olivine, Orthopyroxene, and Clinopyroxene. A crust that varies wildly in size. Few mounds, mountains, and canyons. The moon is an example of tidal locking: where its orbital period around earth matches the time it takes for the planet to rotate.
Surface Features of Phobos?
Covered in large amounts of dust that cannot retain heat, covered in craters extremely large relative to its size, and round for an asteroid. Lots of large hills and bumps, and a darkish gray surface. Parts of it seem to have long streak lines running across it. Its largest crater is Stickney.
Features to look for to identify Phobos?
Surface features relatively large to the moons size (mounds or craters a tenth of the diameter of the asteroid), an extremely large crater (Stickney) an interior with no differing layers (indicating it is an asteroid), and a shape extremely bumpy for a planet but round for a large asteroid. A dark grey surface, and part of the planet having dark grey streaks running through the surface.
Surface Features of Deimos?
Deimos is about a seventh the size of Phobos. It is less round, shaped almost like a potato, and is very smooth. It has a few large, deep craters, and varies in color. Its gravity is so weak than any craters blow off lots of material that isn't caught by its gravitational pull.
Features to look for to identify Deimos?
Shaped almost like a potato, varying from a greyish white to a dirty orange. Its extremely smooth, and the craters are very large relative to its total size.
Surface features of Io?
Io is covered with sulfur and iron, giving its surface a mixture of grey, red, orange and yellow colors. It has several volcanoes on its surface. It has sulfuric snow on its surface where it is extremely cold. The gravitation pull of Jupiter and the other Galilean moons create cracks and mountains on the planet. There are also lakes and rivers of sulfuric acid.
Internal features of Io?
Io is made of an Iron and an Iron sulfide core, surrounded by an ultramafic (filled with lots of heavy metals) mantle, and a thin, mostly sulfur or silicate crust and asthenosphere.
Features to identify Io?
Io can be identified by its multicolor surface, and exotic features (large volcanoes, lakes and rivers of sulfuric acid, cracked surface). Its mantle is filled with heavy metals, and its core is relatively small.
Number of Asteroids in the Asteroid Belt?
1.1 to 1.9 million.
Number of Near Earth Asteroids?
Composition of Asteroids?
Mostly carbonaceous or made of silicates, though some are made of heavy metals.
Features to identify Asteroids?
Grey and rocky, very large, possibly lumpy and oddly shaped, and its featuers are very large relative to its total size.
Hollows - strange bumps made as lighter elements are blown away leaving only the denser material in strange shapes.
The Caloris Basin - Caloris Planitia, An extremely large basin containing several of the largest craters in the solar system. It is surrounded by a ring of mountains.
The Mercury Spider - Pantheon Fossea, a large web of ridges and trenches surrounding a crater in the center of the Caloris Basin. How it formed is unknown.
The Rachmaninoff Basin - A double ringed basin on Mercury that, at its lowest, is more than 5 km below average elevation.
Plains of Mercury - Intercrater plains were either formed by lava or magma that changed in elevation, or were caused by large amounts of asteroid impacts in certain areas. Smooth plains were formed billions of years ago when Mercury was geologically active, and magma washed over parts of the planet, making them smooth.
History of Mercury
the process by which an atom or a molecule acquires a negative or positive charge by gaining or losing electrons to form ions, often in conjunction with other chemical changes.
A unit of length, roughly the distance from the Earth to the Sun. However, that distance varies as the Earth orbits the Sun, from a maximum (aphelion) to a minimum (perihelion) and back again once a year.
Arcsecond (second of an arc)
Unit of measurement that amounts to one sixtieth of an arcminute. Simply put, it is equal to 1/3600 degrees of an arc
Arcminute (minute of an arc)
Unit of angular distance that is equal to a 60th of a degree
A planet that is composed primarily of silicate rocks or metals.
The conformance of a residence or abode to the implied warranty of habitability.
A unit of length used to measure large distances to objects outside the Solar System. One parsec is the distance at which one astronomical unit subtends an angle of one arcsecond.
Light-year (light year)
A unit of LENGTH used informally to express astronomical distances. It is approximately 9 trillion kilometres (6 trillion miles). The definition is "the distance that light travels in a vacuum in one Julian year.
A unit of measurement of time defined as exactly 365.25 days of 86,400 SI seconds each.
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