One of the most remarkable features of the solar system is the variety of planetary atmospheres. Earth and Venus are of comparable size and mass, yet the surface of Venus bakes at 460 degrees Celsius under an ocean of carbon dioxide that bears down with the weight of a kilometer of water. Callisto and Titan—planet-size moons of Jupiter and Saturn, respectively—are nearly the same size, yet Titan has a nitrogen-rich atmosphere thicker than our own, whereas Callisto is essentially airless. What causes such extremes? If we knew, it would help explain why Earth teems with life while its planetary siblings appear to be dead. Knowing how atmospheres evolve is also essential to determining which planets beyond our solar system might be habitable.