Venus is probably the most hostile planet in the Solar System. Its thick clouds are composed of mainly carbon dioxide and sulfuric acid droplets. The atmospheric pressure is 92 times greater on Venus than on Earth, and the greenhouse effect gone crazy makes the average temperature on the planet 482 degrees Celcius, which is hotter than Mercury. A day on Venus lasts longer than its year; 243 Earth-days to a Venusian day and 225 Earth-days to a Venusian year.
The surface of Venus cannot be seen because of the thick atmosphere. The only way to map the surface is through radar imaging. The Magellan spacecraft, in operation from 1990 to 1994, used that method to map the entire surface of the planet. It was found that the surface is young, around 300 to 500 million years old. This is due to a re-surfacing of the planet by lava flows from thousands of volcanos that dot the surface. Venus is also scarred by impact craters, but many have either been withered away or filled with lava.
Some major features on Venus include Maxwell Mons, the highest peak on the planet. The Aphrodite Highlands extend almost half-way around the planet, and appear bright in radar images, indicating moisture. Liquid water does not exist on Venus, but scientist believe that the bright highlands are made of iron pyrite, better known as fool's gold. Gula Mons is a large volcano, rising 3 kilometers into the air. The planet also contains plains, rift valleys, and arachnoids. Even though Venus is known as the sister planet of Earth, the two are obviously not alike.
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