1. Uranus is tilted on its side
If you’re looking at Uranus through a high-powered telescope, you might think it’s a peaceful, blue ball that looks almost magisterial. Well, this planet is actually quite strange upon closer inspection. One of the strangest things is that the planet spins on its side. This is probably because of some massive collisions in the past, although scientists are still trying to figure out the exact reasons why.
2. Jupiter’s moon Io has towering volcanic eruptions
Io is one of Jupiter’s most amazing moons, and it looks almost nothing like our moon here on Earth. While our moon is dead and peaceful, Io is filled with activities. The most notable feature on Io is the massive network of active volcanoes. The volcanic eruptions are so intense that they send plumes 250 miles into space. The reason for these volcanic eruptions is Jupiter’s intense gravitational effect on Io. The real mystery lies beneath the surface, as scientists still don’t know what kind of volcanic activity is happening within Io.
3. Mars has the biggest volcano (that we know of)
Mars might be a “dead planet,” but that wasn’t always the case. In the past, Mars was home to the largest volcano in the solar system. It’s called Olympus Mons, and it’s three times the height of Everest. It also takes up a much larger area, and its base is about the size of Arizona.
Mountains can reach this size on Mars because the gravity is much lower compared to Earth. Scientists still aren’t really sure about whether Mars has an active tectonic system underneath the surface.
4. Mars also has the longest valley
Mars is also home to the longest valley in the solar system: Valles Marineris. Not only does this valley put the grand canyon to shame, but it’s also the same length as the United States. It was first spotted in 1971.
5. Venus has super-powerful winds
Venus was named after the Roman goddess of love, but the surface is anything but hospitable. Aside from the incredibly high temperatures, Venus is famous for its intense winds that are capable of destroying spacecraft within minutes.
These winds flow 50 times faster than the planet’s rotation. Sensors also found that these winds were getting more intense over time.