Being at home so much, I've spent some time reading about other planets. I'll start with the first one out from the sun.
Mercury sets several records for the planets:
closest to the sun;
shortest year (88 earth days);
smallest tilt of its rotational axis;
highest orbital speed;
most elliptical orbit (used to be in second place on that until Pluto got that bum wrap);
longest solar day (2 of its years - only planet that has years per day instead of days per year);
no significant atmosphere (all the other planets have at least some; even the former planet has some);
widest swing of temperature between day and night, 700 down to 100 *.
Did I miss any?
Where it comes in second:
second longest rotation period (2/3 of its year);
second highest average temperature, and second highest daily high temperature.
*Up to 700 Kelvin in the two regions that have their daily high when the planet is at its closest to the sun;
down to 100 K at night, which is colder than Mars.
In some polar craters where it's in shade all the time it stays below 100 K.
For reference, room temperature is around 293 K, water freezes at around 272 K.
Not exactly a vacation spot, huh? And here you thought Venus was bad! Oh wait, it is.
|Never goes away...|
I was thinking some of those numbers were what fluorescent light was measured in!
No, I use Kelvin because there's no negatives, and because that way the raios of the numbers is meaningful.
|Never goes away...|
I did recognize it, just the last I remember was light temperature.
Is that in contrast to dark temperature?
|Never goes away...|
What’s the speed of dark?
Beware the dark side of the force!
Highest surface temperature - around 740 Kelvin;
Most uniform temperature across places of same elevation, day or night, equator or pole;
most CO2 in the atmosphere;
biggest greenhouse effect;
highest air pressure at surface (ninety something times Earth at sea level);
longest rotation period (2nd only longest solar day, and it rotates backwards);
most opaque atmosphere (less sunlight reaches its surface than reaches Earth's surface);
shortest operational period for the probes that have managed to land on its surface so far.
The top of its highest mountain has a mere mid 600's Kelvin, lower than Mercury's high.
Most liquid water on surface;
Most O2 in air (it's not easy being green);
Air pressure and temperature closest to standard.
Next planet outward from Earth;
Has highest known mountain (the volcano Olympus Mons);
largest dust storms;
less obstacles to landing there than for the other non-Earth planets or moons of gas giants;
most space probes on surface (one lander and one rover are still operational, last I heard).
Re Allan's comment "Right now we are planning to go to Mars"
Yep, that's one of NASA's goals. Hopefully they'll get something better than chemical rockets in the next one or two decades. Research on fusion rockets is reportedly in the works.
With chemical rockets a Mars mission could be expected to be 3 or 4 years. With fusion, it should be under a year, maybe just 7 months (3 months travel each way, 1 month there).
I don't know if the landers would be fusion or chemical; they might not get a form of fusion rocket that would be acceptable for landings and liftoffs.
Continuuing with the records set by each planet:
Shortest day (10 hrs);
Most moons (79 at last count; several don't yet have names. But then they wouldn't come when called anyway.);
Biggest long-lasting storm (the Red Spot; way larger than Earth).
Biggest ring system;
Least dense (less dense than water at std temp and pressure).
Biggest axial tilt (more than Pluto, so it was in the lead before that downgrade)
Farthest from sun (used to be in 2nd place, most of the time);
Longest year (used to be in 2nd place).
More elliptical orbit than any planet;
Farther from sun (most of the time) than any planet;
Might have more variable air pressure than any planet (since most of what there is of it freezes out in cold weather);
Most recently discovered.
I guess the next question is how many decades until they get a working version of the fusion rocket propulsion system that I've been reading about. Without that or something as good, interplanetary trips using chemical rockets would take years. I gather that with fusion rockets, a trip to Mars could be just a few months each way, with a month or two to sight-see while there.
One thing I'm wondering, for a fusion-rocket ship big enough to carry a crew, how much delta-V might it be expected to get from one load of fuel? i.e., how many times could it add 1 km/sec to its velocity before running out of fuel.
Keep it coming, Henry. Probably won't be posting much, but I do plunder the internet for further info regarding your posts.
Makes for a nice breath of much needed fresh air in these politically trying times...
Fence straddlers get a crotch full of splinters -- Granny
Except that other planets don't have much in the way of fresh air!