Planets

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Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system and has more than double the mass of the other planets in the solar system combined. Being the largest and most massive planet in the solar system isn't Jupiter's only distinction, though, as the gas giant is distinguished in several unique ways.

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  • What are the nine planets in order?

    Q: What are the nine planets in order?

    A: The nine planets in order are Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and, if it's still considered the ninth planet, Pluto. However, not only has Pluto been demoted to a dwarf planet by some astronomers, but its orbit is so eccentric that there are times when it's closer to the sun than Neptune.
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  • What is the atmosphere like on Mars?

    Q: What is the atmosphere like on Mars?

    A: According to Space.com, the atmosphere on Mars is around 100 times thinner compared to that of the Earth's and is composed of about 95 percent carbon dioxide. However, the Martian atmosphere is still thick enough to sustain weather, winds and clouds.
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  • Would Mars be a good planet to live on?

    Q: Would Mars be a good planet to live on?

    A: As of 2014, scientists believe Mars is the most likely planet in Earth's solar system, outside of Earth, to support human existence. However, this doesn't say much about the potential for life on other planets, as many major obstacles impede life on Mars without significant technological advancements.
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  • What type of planet is Mercury?

    Q: What type of planet is Mercury?

    A: Like Earth, Mercury is one of four terrestrial planets. It is known as a terrestrial planet because it has a solid ground surface made up of rock and metal. This surface makes Mercury's density very similar to that of the Earth and denser than gas planets, according to Universe Today.
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  • What color is Saturn?

    Q: What color is Saturn?

    A: Saturn is described as having a yellowish-brown color. This is due to the presence of trace amounts of ammonia, hydrocarbons, water vapor and phosphine in its atmosphere.
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  • What is the composition of Mars' atmosphere?

    Q: What is the composition of Mars' atmosphere?

    A: The composition of Mars' atmosphere is 95.32 percent carbon dioxide, 2.7 percent nitrogen, 1.6 percent oxygen and 0.08 percent carbon monoxide. The remaining 0.3 percent is made up of various trace elements.
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  • Have any man-made satellites been sent to Mars?

    Q: Have any man-made satellites been sent to Mars?

    A: Several man-made satellites have been sent to Mars since 1964. The first spacecraft to Mars, known as Mariner 3, was launched on Nov. 5, 1964. This spacecraft malfunctioned and failed to fly by Mars as planned.
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  • When will the planets align?

    Q: When will the planets align?

    A: The planets in this solar system never line up perfectly, but they will come into alignment in 2854. Each planet rotates around the sun at a different speed, and the planets form a rough alignment once every 500 years.
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  • What is the length of a day and year on Saturn?

    Q: What is the length of a day and year on Saturn?

    A: A day on Saturn is 10.7 hours, and a year is equivalent to 29 Earth years or 10,832 days. The length of the day is calculated from the planet's rotational speed, while scientists determine the length of a year by observing Saturn's orbit.
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  • What was Mercury named after?

    Q: What was Mercury named after?

    A: The planet Mercury was named by the Romans after their messenger god, Mercury. Mercury travels the fastest around the Sun, so it was fitting that they chose the god whose hat and shoes were winged, enabling him to move swiftly through the skies. The element known as Mercury was named after the planet.
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  • How many miles is Jupiter from the sun?

    Q: How many miles is Jupiter from the sun?

    A: Jupiter is located an average of 483.64 million miles from the sun. The exact distance between Jupiter and the sun varies depending on the location of Jupiter along its orbit.
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  • What are some cool facts about Mars?

    Q: What are some cool facts about Mars?

    A: Mars, the fourth planet from the sun, has interested people for thousands of years, according to BBC News. However, whereas the people of ancient Greece and Rome found Mars fascinating for its red color, people today are more interested in finding water on the planet.
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  • Can you see Saturn from Earth?

    Q: Can you see Saturn from Earth?

    A: Saturn is frequently visible from Earth's surface. Space.com describes it as resembling a bright star when viewed by the unaided human eye. Owing to the planet's size and proximity, however, it usually doesn't twinkle the way stars do.
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  • What do all the planets have in common?

    Q: What do all the planets have in common?

    A: In order to be declared a planet, a celestial body must meet the following qualifications: It must orbit the sun, it must maintain a nearly spherical shape and have the necessary mass for self-gravity so that it does not succumb to rigid body forces, and it must clear the neighborhood around its orbit. All recognized planets in the solar system meet this definition.
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  • Where is Mars located?

    Q: Where is Mars located?

    A: Mars is the fourth planet from the sun. Its average distance from the sun is 141,633,120 miles, approximately 1.5 times that of Earth.
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  • How is Earth different from other planets?

    Q: How is Earth different from other planets?

    A: Earth is unique in that scientists have found the planet to be the only one to have liquid water on its surface, intelligent life forms living on it, a moon that helps regulate surface temperatures, an atmosphere with 21 percent oxygen and plate tectonics, according to Space.com. Scientists believe Earth exists in a "Goldilocks zone" where conditions are just right to support life.
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  • What is a dwarf planet?

    Q: What is a dwarf planet?

    A: A dwarf planet is a celestial body that orbits the sun and is large enough to assume a round shape but has not cleared its orbital path of similar objects. There are five known dwarf planets as of 2014: Pluto, Ceres, Eris, Haumea and Makemake.
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  • What are planets made of?

    Q: What are planets made of?

    A: The inner planets, Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars, are made up of silicate rock and heavy metals such as iron and nickel, whereas the outer planets, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, are made up mostly of gases, according to Universe Today. The outer planets are subdivided into gas giants, comprised mostly of hydrogen and helium, and ice giants, comprised mostly of methane, ammonia and water.
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  • Who discovered that the Earth was round?

    Q: Who discovered that the Earth was round?

    A: The discovery that the Earth is round is most commonly ascribed to the ancient Greek philosopher Pythagoras, while the credit for proving it is usually given to Aristotle. It appears that most ancient Greek philosophers that followed him believed in a round Earth. Since the records from that time are not perfect, it is quite possible that someone before him was aware of the Earth's round shape.
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  • What are the special features of Mars?

    Q: What are the special features of Mars?

    A: Mars has a number of interesting features that make it one of the most studied planets in the solar system. One of the most often noted features of Mars is its reddish color, which earned it the nickname the Red Planet. The reddish hue results from iron oxide, or rust, in the soil.
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  • How hot is Mars?

    Q: How hot is Mars?

    A: The average temperature on Mars is -80 degrees Fahrenheit. A summer day near Mars' equator gets up to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, but dips to -100 degrees Fahrenheit at night. Winter temperatures at the Martian poles drop to 195 degrees Fahrenheit.
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