What Is The Least Earth Like Planet

There is a lot that is left unknown about the universe, but what is known is that no two planets are alike. A planet’s size, composition, atmosphere and features are the result of thousands of factors and a little bit of chance. In the case of Earth, conditions had to be perfect to cultivate the life that it now contains. With that being said, if the Earth had been farther away or closer to the sun, it would not exist as the Earth we know; we might not exist at all. Even though planets are admittedly very different, scientists still attempt to categorize them by their similarities and differences from Earth. Given the one in a billion nature of Earth as a planet, it would seem that all other planets are not Earth-like, but the question still arises, “what is the least Earth-like planet?” The answer to this question is very difficult.

Throughout our solar system there are many planets that are quite different from Earth in terms of size and composition, which creates multiple candidates for the title of least Earth-like planet. Some may say that Mercury could be considered the least Earth-like. Mercury is not nearly the size of Earth, with a volume of less than 6% of our planet. Mercury also lacks an atmosphere, leading to temperatures that reach up to 427°C. Although these features are very different from Earth, Mercury has a solid surface and magnetic field, which is more Earth-like than other planets in our solar system. Another candidate for least Earth-like planet is Uranus. Uranus, a gaseous Ice Giant, has a composition far different from Earth; the planet is composed of primarily hydrogen, helium, water, ammonia and methane. In addition, Uranus has some of the coldest temperatures in our solar system, which sometimes reach as low as -224°C. Uranus has another non-Earth-like feature; a unique axis of rotation. Uranus rotates sideways, making its north and south poles in the region where most planets have their equator. Uranus does have some features comparable to Earth, such as a size only four times larger and gravity that is 91% of Earth.

Despite Mercury and Uranus having many opposing qualities to Earth, Jupiter seems to be even less like Earth than these planets. Being a complete gaseous planet, Jupiter’s atmosphere is made of 90% hydrogen and 10% helium and unlike the Uranus, Jupiter contains very little water, ammonia or dust. Jupiter has a mass that is 318 times greater than Earth and an 11 times greater radius. Jupiter also has its famous Great Red Spot, which is a giant storm that has been recorded since the 17th century. Jupiter also has the strongest magnetic field in our solar system, which traps charged particles within its magnetosphere. These charged particles make Jupiter have the deadliest radiation environment in our solar system. Jupiter’s difference from Earth is exaggerated even further by the fact that it has 56 moons, dwarfing Earth’s one. The combination of Jupiter’s gigantic size, along with its radioactive, hydrogen concentrated atmosphere and plethora of moons make Jupiter the least Earth-like planet in our solar system.

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