My Favorite Planet: Venus

I’m thinking of doing a few of these kinds of posts, if people are into it: my favorite planet, my favorite moon, my favorite asteroid… that sort of thing. Today I’d like to tell you a little about Venus, my favorite planet in the Solar System and also the best chemistry teacher I’ve ever had.

Venus has been my favorite planet for a long time now.  I used to say to people, “It’s because Venus has the most personality.  It’s the personality of a serial killer, but still… so much personality!”

It’s true that Venus is excessively, unreasonably, incomprehensibly hostile toward life.  I mean, all the planets are dangerous (even Earth is a dangerous place in its own ways), but if you ever go to Venus, Venus will try to kill you at least a dozen different ways before you touch the ground.  And when your crushed and crispy remains do reach the ground, Venus will try to kill you again in at least a dozen more ways.

No other planet is so creative and so gleefully enthusiastic about murder.  As a science fiction writer, one of my goals in life is to set a novel on Venus or a Venus-like planet, because no other setting makes for such a deadly antagonist.

But upon further reflection, I think there’s a better reason why Venus holds such a special place in my heart.  I’ve done a lot of space-related research over the years.  It’s all part of my ongoing quest to become a better science fiction writer.  Venus was the first planet to really challenge me intellectually.

Why is Venus so deadly?  In many ways, Venus is Earth’s twin.  The two planets are about the same size, they have almost the same surface gravity, and their chemical compositions are similar. Venus is slightly closer to the Sun, but it’s still within our Solar System’s habitable zone.  So what gives?

It was hard work getting the kind of answers I was looking for.  Venus forced me to learn a lot of new things.  In particular, I had to learn more about chemistry, a subject that I despised in school and had really hoped I could avoid.  But in struggling to understand Venus’s sulfur chemistry, and later its carbon chemistry, I was rewarded not only with a deeper understanding of one planet but of how planets in general are put together, and how they each end up with their own distinct “personalities.”

Picking a favorite anything is obviously a subjective thing. For me, studying Venus was an eye-opening experience in ways I never would have expected.  For that, I’m forever grateful to the planet Venus, and Venus will always be my favorite planet.

So what’s your favorite planet?  If you say “Earth, because I live there,” I’m going to be a little disappointed.  But whatever your favorite planet is, and whatever your reasons for that, please share in the comments below!

20 Responses to My Favorite Planet: Venus

  1. Steve Morris says:

    I think every planet must be interesting in its own unique way. Much like every number is interesting. But I digress. Mars has obvious appeal. Saturn has its lovely rings. Jupiter is big. very big. Pluto has controversy as its trump card. Neptune is plain mysterious. I’m going to nominate Mercury. It’s hot, it’s fast, it’s got a ringside seat next to the sun.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. bkellysky says:

    Saturn. Seeing it for themselves in a telescope makes people go ‘wow’ and be happy !
    Some days, Jupiter. People can live for themselves how Galileo got into trouble by thinking about what seeing objects not orbiting around Earth meant to the Earth-centric hypothesis.
    Third, Mars. I thought my kids’ generation would be landing on Mars by now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • J.S. Pailly says:

      Good choices. Seeing Saturn for the first time was definitely a wow moment for me. Seeing Jupiter’s moons change positions from one night to the next is also a really cool thing.

      As for Mars, I think we’ll get there. Maybe not as quickly as we’d like, but we’ll get there.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Can’t really say I have a favorite, although if Planet Nine is ever found to actually exist, it will quickly become the one I’m most interested in.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. chemistken says:

    Mars is probably my favorite. Perhaps I might have answered Venus many years ago before I knew how bad it was on the surface. At least Mars has a surface you can walk around on and look up at the sky. Mercury’s too hot, and the Jovian planets don’t really have solid surfaces I could walk on.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. nannus says:

    My favorite is Jupiter. I like the complexity it displays. Perhaps its sheer size means it can produce a lot of complexity. Basically, size and high mass should result in a large information storage capacity, resulting in complexity of processes.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sourena says:

    Then witch is more dangerous? Jupiter or neptune or venus?

    Liked by 1 person

    • J.S. Pailly says:

      I think you could make an argument that any of the gas giants are the more dangerous than a terrestrial planet like Venus. Also Jupiter has by far the most dangerous radiation environment of any planet. But I feel like Venus is especially cruel in the multitude of ways she tries to kill you all at once, between the extreme heat, extreme pressure, sulfuric acid rain, mid-air explosions, suspected volcanic freak-outs, etc, etc…

      Like

  7. Sourena says:

    My favorite planet is Jupiter and my favorite moon is ganamyde. My least favorite planet is venus . Really, and I hate the time when Isaw you say stupid Europa is your favorite moon because Europa is the worst thing in outer space well exept dieing in it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • J.S. Pailly says:

      Well, I will be updating my pick for favorite moon. I still think Europa is a fascinating place, though. I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree about that one.

      What is it about Jupiter and Ganymede that make them your favorites?

      Like

  8. Sourena says:

    Ganynede is big. Ganymede is brown and white but not the way as Europa. Ganymede’s surface is mostly brown unlike Europa witch its colors ties. Jupiter has ganymede. Jupiter is huge. Jupiter has the great red spot. And Jupiter is one of the gas giants.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Sourena says:

    Yes, and I hate Europa because it’s small, and to my eye, Europa looks worst than io. Even when Europa is the biggest moon that could soon support life or even support alien life now. I more liked it if our moon or mars suppted life.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Sourena says:

    I mean supported

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Venus: Earth’s evil twin from the Star Trek alternate universe?

    Liked by 1 person

    • J.S. Pailly says:

      Okay, obscure Star Trek trivia time! In the evil mirror universe, Earth supposedly rotates in the opposite direction that it rotates in our universe. So clockwise instead of counterclockwise.

      In real life, Venus dose rotate in the opposite direction as Earth. So yeah, Venus kind of is the evil alternate universe Earth. This is something I think about a lot in relation to both Venus and Star Trek’s mirror universe.

      Liked by 1 person

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