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Venus has long been considered Earth’s twin sister. The two planets are very similar in some respects and share many physical and orbital characteristics:

  • They were born at about the same time in the same cloud of gas and dust, 4.6 billion years ago
  • Venus and the Earth are both inner planets
  • Their surfaces show varying terrains : mountains, plains, high plateux, gorges, volcanoes, crests and impact craters
  • They both have few craters, implying a relatively young surface
  • They have atmospheres with dense clouds
  • Their chemical compositions are very close
  • Venus is the closest neighbouring planet

Because of these similarities, we had long thought that below the dense clouds, Venus could be like the Earth and could maybe even harbour life. But Venus is very different from the Earth in many respects.

Comparison between Venus and the Earth:

  • Mass (1024 kg): 4.8685 - 5.9736
  • Volume (1010 km3): 92.843 - 108.321
  • Ellipticity (Flattening): 0.000 - 0.00335
  • Number of natural satellites: 0 - 1
  • Planetary ring system: No - No
  • Surface pressure (bar): 92 - 1.013
  • Average surface temperature: 464 °C - 14 °C
  • Atmospheric composition: 96.5% CO2 + 3.5% N2 - 77% N2 + 21% O2
  • Topographic range (km): 15 - 20

More detailed comparison between the Earth and Venus

Radar image of the surface of Venus by Magellan. Credits: Magellan Project/NASA/JPL