The Atmospheres of the Terrestrial Planets: Clues to the Origins and Early Evolution of Venus, Earth, and Mars
We review the current state of knowledge of the origin and early evolution of the three largest terrestrial planets — Venus, Earth, and Mars — setting the stage for the chapters on comparative climatological processes to follow. We summarize current models of planetary formation, as revealed by studies of solid materials from Earth and meteorites from Mars. For Venus, we emphasize the known differences and similarities in planetary bulk properties and composition with Earth and Mars, focusing on key properties indicative of planetary formation and early evolution, particularly of the atmospheres of all three planets. Finally, we review the need for future in situ measurements for improving our understanding of the origin and evolution of the atmospheres of our planetary neighbors and Earth, and suggest the accuracies required of such new in situ data.