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Inner Solar System

- Region

The inner Solar System is the region comprising the terrestrial planets and the asteroid belt. Composed mainly of silicates and metals, the objects of the inner Solar System are relatively close to the Sun; the radius of this entire region is less than the distance between the orbits of Jupiter and Saturn. This region is also within the frost line, which is a little less than 5 AU (about 700 million km) from the Sun.

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Motion of the inner four planets

- Inner Planets

The four terrestrial or inner planets have dense, rocky compositions, few or no moons, and no ring systems. They are composed largely of refractory minerals, such as the silicates—which form their crusts and mantles—and metals, such as iron and nickel, which form their cores. Three of the four inner planets (Venus, Earth and Mars) have atmospheres substantial enough to generate weather; all have impact craters and tectonic surface features, such as rift valleys and volcanoes. The term inner planet should not be confused with inferior planet, which designates those planets that are closer to the Sun than Earth is (i.e. Mercury and Venus).

Mercury

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Mercury

The smallest planet in our solar system and nearest to the Sun, Mercury is only slightly larger than Earth's Moon. Despite its proximity to the Sun, Mercury is not the hottest planet in our solar system

Venus

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Venus

Venus is the second planet from the Sun and is Earth’s closest planetary neighbor. It’s one of the four inner, terrestrial (or rocky) planets, and it’s often called Earth’s twin because it’s similar in size and density. 

Earth

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Earth

Earth is the third planet from the Sun, and the only place we know of so far that’s inhabited by living things. Earth is the fifth largest planet in the solar system, it is the only world in our solar system with liquid water on the surface.

Mars

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Mars

Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun – a dusty, cold, desert world with a very thin atmosphere. Mars is also a dynamic planet with seasons, polar ice caps, canyons, extinct volcanoes, and evidence that it was even more active in the past.

- Asteroid belt

Asteroids except for the largest, Ceres, are classified as small Solar System bodies and are composed mainly of refractory rocky and metallic minerals, with some ice. They range from a few metres to hundreds of kilometres in size. Asteroids smaller than one meter are usually called meteoroids and micrometeoroids (grain-sized), depending on different, somewhat arbitrary definitions.

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The asteroid belt occupies the orbit between Mars and Jupiter, between 2.3 and 3.3 AU from the Sun. It is thought to be remnants from the Solar System's formation that failed to coalesce because of the gravitational interference of Jupiter. The asteroid belt contains tens of thousands, possibly millions, of objects over one kilometre in diameter. Despite this, the total mass of the asteroid belt is unlikely to be more than a thousandth of that of Earth. The asteroid belt is very sparsely populated; spacecraft routinely pass through without incident.

- Ceres

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Ceres (2.77 AU) is the largest asteroid, a protoplanet, and a dwarf planet. It has a diameter of slightly under 1000 km, and a mass large enough for its own gravity to pull it into a spherical shape. Ceres was considered a planet when it was discovered in 1801 and was reclassified to asteroid in the 1850s as further observations revealed additional asteroids. It was classified as a dwarf planet in 2006 when the definition of a planet was created.

- Asteroid groups

Asteroids in the asteroid belt are divided into asteroid groups and families based on their orbital characteristics. Asteroid moons are asteroids that orbit larger asteroids. They are not as clearly distinguished as planetary moons, sometimes being almost as large as their partners. The asteroid belt also contains main-belt comets, which may have been the source of Earth's water.

Jupiter trojans are located in either of Jupiter's L4 or L5 points (gravitationally stable regions leading and trailing a planet in its orbit); the term trojan is also used for small bodies in any other planetary or satellite Lagrange point. Hilda asteroids are in a 2:3 resonance with Jupiter; that is, they go around the Sun three times for every two Jupiter orbits.