Astro 120 Fall 2005
Essay Question for Exam 2
You will be asked to answer this question during Exam
2 on Thursday, November 10. Please think about how you will answer this
question before the exam, and write your answer during the exam time.
PART II: ESSAY (20 points): Answer the question on this
sheet front and (if needed) back only.
Name: _________________________ Section Number:________
Throughout this part of the course, we have looked at the planets of our
Solar System, and the small bodies that attend them. Though they display a
huge range of properties, there are some important similarities between
features found on their surfaces, and in their atmospheres.
With this in mind, answer part A, and then choose either part B
-or- part C to finish your essay. Do not answer both B and C - we will
grade only one of them.
- (15 pts) Briefly explain why size is the most important factor
influencing the surface appearance of the terrestrial planets (and large
satellites). In your answer, be sure to
- State what the influence of size is on all four basic geological
processes we discussed in class.
- Give an example of two objects in our solar system that are
approximately the same size but, surprisingly, have different surfaces and
explain why the two objects have different surfaces.
- (5 pts) In all planets that have atmospheres, we see clouds. For
example, the clouds of Venus appear greenish-white; Earth clouds are white,
Jupiter has white, brown, and even red clouds, Neptune has a vivid blue-green
color. Pick a pair of planets with very different cloud features and
explain why the clouds look different on each planet. For each planet be
sure to mention the main constituent of its atmosphere and that of the clouds
--- or ---
- (5 pts) Impacts of bodies larger than 100m in diameter produce craters on
the surfaces that they hit. We see a large number of craters on the surfaces
of most satellites of the planets, and on most planets, yet we see few on the
surface of the Earth. Why don't we see lots of craters on the land surfaces