Earth belongs to a group of small, inner solar-system planets, including Mercury, Venus, and Mars, which all consist of a mantle made of silica-based minerals above an iron-rich core and crusts that show evidence of meteorite bombardment and volcanic lava flow. Beyond these basic similarities, and despite their similar formation processes in the inner solar system, these four planets are strangely different from one another.
While the Earth's surface temperatures are relatively constant, Mercury goes through daily cycles of heat high enough to melt lead and cold deep enough to freeze carbon dioxide gas. Though the study of geology started with the Earth, making it the standard against which other planets are compared, "The Earth and the Moon" compares the Earth equally with other planets to clearly display the similarities and differences between the various orbiting bodies. This volume discusses the fundamental aspects of the Earth as a planet, including its size, mass, orbit, surface appearance, atmosphere, and the causes of its seasons. This volume also covers the evolution of the moon in relation to the geological features of the Earth and the history behind the successful space missions to the moon. Perfect for those interested in understanding the science and history behind the exploration of the Earth and Moon, this volume presents an unbiased view of this exciting topic.