Comparing Planets

We will look at our Solar System and its worlds from a comparison perspective, called Comparative Planetology , rather than focus on a lot of numbers and data. To compare the planets, they will be grouped into two major types: the Rocky or Terrestrial (Earth-Like) planets , and the Gas Giants or Jovian (Jupiter-like) planets . Recall, the focus of this module will be on the Rocky Planets. The next module will focus on the Gas Giants.

The table, Rocky Planets Vs. Gas Giant Planets , provides a broad snapshot of the differences between the Rocky Planets and the Gas Giant Planets.

Rocky Planets Vs. Gas Giant Planets

Rocky Planets: Mercury-Venus-Earth-Mars

Characteristics:

  • Distance from the Sun — Close
  • Revolution Length — Short
  • Surface Type — Solid surface
  • Diameter — Small
  • Craters — Many
  • Water — All except Venus
  • Rings — None
  • Satellites — Few or none

Gas Giant Planets: Jupiter-Saturn-Uranus-Neptune

Characteristics:

  • Distance from the Sun — Farther out
  • Revolution Length — Long
  • Surface Type — Gas; Probably no surface or very small icy core
  • Diameter — Large
  • Craters — None (gas)
  • Water — Yes; in the atmosphere (gas)
  • Rings — Yes; from one to multiple rings
  • Satellites — Many