Venus is the second closest planet to the Sun. It is a terrestrial planet. This means that we think it was created in a similar way to our planet Earth and is made of rock.
|The Solar System|
How big is Venus? 
Venus is only slightly smaller than the Earth. This is one reason why Venus is sometimes thought of as Earth's "twin". Venus has a diameter of about 12,100 km. It has also been visited by many probes.
What is the surface like on this planet? 
The surface of Venus is very different from the surface of the Earth. It is very dry and hot enough to melt lead. The pressure on the surface is very high. It is the same pressure as being 1 km (3,280 feet) below the surface of the sea on Earth.
Channels that look like rivers have formed on Venus. Scientists think these channels are formed from erupting lava. The lava flows along as it cools down, creating the channels. One feature only Venus seems to have is unusual volcanoes called arachnoids. These are volcanoes that have formed differently from other volcanoes we have found in the Solar System. We don't know exactly how they were formed. Venus also has volcanoes like those on Earth.
Parts of the surface of Venus look something like continents. The largest of these areas is called Ishtar Terra (land of Ishtar, from the Babylonian goddess who was similar to Venus). Deep basins like those under the Earth's oceans have also been discovered. On Venus, though, they have no water. Features like mountain ranges and meteor craters have also been found on Venus. One of the highest mountains on Venus, Maxwell Montes, is about 11 km taller than Mount Everest, the highest mountain on Earth.
How long is a day on Venus? 
Venus rotates (spins around) even more slowly than Mercury. One full rotation of Venus takes about 243 Earth days. Venus also rotates in the opposite direction to most of the other planets in the Solar System. One day on Venus, from noon to noon, depends on the length of the year as well as the rotation time, and is about 117 earth days.
How long is a year on Venus? 
One year on Venus is almost 225 Earth days long. This is less time than it takes Venus to rotate on its axis and less than two Venus days.
What is Venus made of? 
The surface of Venus, its crust, is covered in rock. The core of Venus is made of nickel-iron. The atmosphere around Venus is very thick and is made of carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and poisonous gasses that create high pressure and trap in heat.
How much would Venus's gravity pull on me? 
If you were on Venus, it would pull you down almost as strongly as Earth. The atmosphere exerts a pressure at the surface more than 90 times Earth's normal sea-level pressure.
Who is this planet named after? 
Venus is named after the Roman goddess of love. Sometimes it can be seen shining brightly just before dawn or just after sunset, when it is called the Morning Star or Evening Star. Some people, like the Aztecs and the Greeks, gave Venus two names – one for the morning and one for the evening.
Because Venus and the Earth are the same size, scientists call Venus "Earth's sister planet". For a long time most scientists thought that Venus had plants, animals, and possibly even people. However because Venus is so hot we now know that it is impossible for anything to live there.
How long would it take people to get there? 
It could take around a year and a half to get there.
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