Inner planets

Definition

Inner planets are the four planets closest to the Sun: Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars. They are collectively characterized by a solid surface and small size relative to the outer gas giants.

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Latest Research and Reviews

  • Research |

    Venus is covered by thick clouds that move with the prevailing winds. Images from JAXA’s Akatsuki orbiter taken in July 2016 reveal more variability deep in the cloud layer than expected, including a feature consistent with an equatorial jet.

    • Takeshi Horinouchi
    • , Shin-ya Murakami
    • , Takehiko Satoh
    • , Javier Peralta
    • , Kazunori Ogohara
    • , Toru Kouyama
    • , Takeshi Imamura
    • , Hiroki Kashimura
    • , Sanjay S. Limaye
    • , Kevin McGouldrick
    • , Masato Nakamura
    • , Takao M. Sato
    • , Ko-ichiro Sugiyama
    • , Masahiro Takagi
    • , Shigeto Watanabe
    • , Manabu Yamada
    • , Atsushi Yamazaki
    •  & Eliot F. Young
    Nature Geoscience 10, 646–651
  • Research |

    The Martian atmosphere hosts water-ice clouds, but it is thought that any snow precipitation settles slowly, rather than in storms. Martian meteorology simulations suggest that localized convective snowstorms can occur on Mars during the night.

    • Aymeric Spiga
    • , David P. Hinson
    • , Jean-Baptiste Madeleine
    • , Thomas Navarro
    • , Ehouarn Millour
    • , François Forget
    •  & Franck Montmessin
    Nature Geoscience 10, 652–657
  • Research |

    Ancient Mars may have had an active sulfur cycle. In situ analyses by the Curiosity rover reveal large variations in the current sulfur isotopic composition of Martian sediments that can be explained by geologic and atmospheric processes.

    • H. B. Franz
    • , A. C. McAdam
    • , D. W. Ming
    • , C. Freissinet
    • , P. R. Mahaffy
    • , D. L. Eldridge
    • , W. W. Fischer
    • , J. P. Grotzinger
    • , C. H. House
    • , J. A. Hurowitz
    • , S. M. McLennan
    • , S. P. Schwenzer
    • , D. T. Vaniman
    • , P. D. Archer Jr
    • , S. K. Atreya
    • , P. G. Conrad
    • , J. W. Dottin III
    • , J. L. Eigenbrode
    • , K. A. Farley
    • , D. P. Glavin
    • , S. S. Johnson
    • , C. A. Knudson
    • , R. V. Morris
    • , R. Navarro-González
    • , A. A. Pavlov
    • , R. Plummer
    • , E. B. Rampe
    • , J. C. Stern
    • , A. Steele
    • , R. E. Summons
    •  & B. Sutter
    Nature Geoscience 10, 658–662
  • Research |

    Venus Express wind measurements at Venus’s cloud top during the night show a different picture than dayside. Both fast and slow motions are detected (there are only fast ones during the day) as well as many stationary waves related to surface relief.

    • J. Peralta
    • , R. Hueso
    • , A. Sánchez-Lavega
    • , Y. J. Lee
    • , A. García Muñoz
    • , T. Kouyama
    • , H. Sagawa
    • , T. M. Sato
    • , G. Piccioni
    • , S. Tellmann
    • , T. Imamura
    •  & T. Satoh
  • Research |

    Most of the Mars Trojans — asteroids co-orbiting the planet — are dynamically related; thus, they have a common origin. Joint information from spectral observations and dynamical modelling suggests that they were ejected from Mars itself after an impact.

    • D. Polishook
    • , S. A. Jacobson
    • , A. Morbidelli
    •  & O. Aharonson

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