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The baked and sterile surface of Venus with mountains; terrestrial planet; telluric planet; rocky planet; runaway greenhouse effect - Space Art Illustration
 

Venus from ground level

A visit to Venus' surface would reveal a broiling desert of vast proportions. While Venus is nearly as large as the Earth, it has over three times the land mass (most of the Earth's surface is under water). The conditions are so dry and hostile to life as we know it--or can imagine it--the surface of Venus is likely as sterile as an autoclave. 

Venus' surface is actually hotter than Mercury's, despite being nearly twice as far from the Sun. It is so hot that the stony venusian ground itself may be slightly plastic and emit a red glow at night. The closest the Earth comes to matching this combination of extreme pressure and temperature is in the realm of deep undersea volcanic vents.

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Copyright Walter B. Myers. All rights reserved.

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