Study Plan

Learning Goals

By the conclusion of this chapter, you should be able to:
  1. Identify the processes that cause primary and secondary atmospheres to be formed, retained, and lost.
  2. Explain the similarities and differences in the atmospheres of Earth, Venus, and Mars.
  3. Compare the relative strength of the greenhouse effect on Earth, Venus, and Mars.
  4. Discuss how Earth’s atmosphere has been reshaped by the presence of life.
  5. Contrast weather and climate, and identify the physical principles that govern each.
  6. Describe how comparative planetology contributes to a better understanding of the changes in Earth’s climate.

Prepare and Assess


    1. Atmospheres: Formation and Escape
      Section: 9.1
    2. Greenhouse Effect
      Section: 9.2
    1. Gas Retention Plot
      Shows how the molecular mass, temperature, and escape speed determine whether a gas will remain gravitationally bound to a planet.
    2. Gas Retention Simulator
      Demonstrates how gases of different molecular masses behave when maintained at thermodynamic equilibrium in a chamber. The chamber can be set to allow particles that exceed a certain speed to escape, providing an analogy for the bleeding of a planet’s atmosphere into space.

Reassess and Apply

  1. Additional comments or issues to report:

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