Terrestrial planet

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A terrestrial planet, telluric planet or rocky planet is a planet that is primarily composed of silicate rocks and/or metals. Within the solar system, the terrestrial planets are the inner planets closest to the Sun. The terms are derived from Latin words for Earth (Terra and Tellus), so these planets are, in a certain way, "Earth-like".

Terrestrial planets are substantially different from gas giants, which might not have solid surfaces and are composed mostly of some combination of hydrogen, helium, and water existing in various physical states.

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Structure

Terrestrial planets all have roughly the same structure: a central metallic core, mostly iron, with a surrounding silicate mantle. The Moon is similar, but lacks an iron core. Terrestrial planets have canyons, craters, mountains, and volcanoes. Terrestrial planets possess secondary atmospheres — atmospheres generated through internal volcanism or comet impacts, as opposed to the gas giants, which possess primary atmospheres — atmospheres captured directly from the original solar nebula.[1]

Theoretically, there are two types of terrestrial or rocky planets, one dominated by silicon compounds and another dominated by carbon compounds, like carbonaceous chondrite asteroids. These are the silicate planets and carbon planets (or "diamond planets") respectively.

Solar terrestrial planets

Earth's solar system has four terrestrial planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars. Only one terrestrial planet, Earth, is known to have an active hydrosphere.

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