Terrestrial planet

A terrestrial planet, telluric planet, or rocky planet, is a planet that is composed primarily of silicate rocks or metals. Within the Solar System, the terrestrial planets accepted by the IAU are the inner planets closest to the Sun, i.e. Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars. Among astronomers who use the geophysical definition of a planet, the Moon, Io and sometimes Europa may also be considered terrestrial planets, and so may be the large rocky protoplanet-asteroids Pallas and Vesta.[1][2][3] The terms "terrestrial planet" and "telluric planet" are derived from Latin words for Earth (Terra and Tellus), as these planets are, in terms of structure, Earth-like. These planets are located between the Sun and the asteroid belt.

The terrestrial planets of the Solar System: Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars, sized to scale

Terrestrial planets have a solid planetary surface, making them substantially different from the larger gaseous planets, which are composed mostly of some combination of hydrogen, helium, and water existing in various physical states.


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