The Second Rock From the Sun

The latest issue of the journal Nature has a focus on Venus, the hellish twin to our lovely planet. Nine papers reviewing the first major findings from Europe's Venus Express spacecraft reveal that Earth and Venus have a number of remarkable similarities, including size, mass and amounts of carbon dioxide.

Fortunately for us, Earth is a good deal further from the Sun. Because of its close proximity, Venus lost most of its water, its clouds are filled with sulfuric acid, carbon dioxide fills its atmosphere, creating an extreme greenhouse effect, and, of course, it's ridiculously hot on the surface.—Gregory Mone

(Image credit: ESA)