Scientists have now captured direct detections of oxygen on the daylight side of Venus. This discovery may help researchers learn more about Venus’ atmosphere. Scientists previously discovered direct detections of oxygen on Venus’s nightside, and theoretical models have long shown that atomic oxygen should exist in the planet’s atmosphere.
Tech. Entertainment. Science. Science.
Sign up for the most interesting tech & entertainment news out there.
Email: SIGN UP
Discovering direct detections of oxygen on Venus’s dayside is exciting, especially as scientists have long yearned to learn more about “Earth’s evil twin.” Where Earth is lush and verdant, Venus is a hellscape. A hot planet with choking clouds that are composed of carbon dioxide.
One good way to look at Venus is to imagine a greenhouse environment with average temperatures up to 867 Fahrenheit. That’s so hot that all the probes sent to the surface have melted within minutes, making it difficult to learn more about Venus’s surface.
But atomic oxygen isn’t like the oxygen we breathe, so Venus isn’t a planet that we can breathe on or anything – even if we could survive the extreme heat. Instead, atomic oxygen is highly reactive and usually bonds to other atoms. On Earth it is abundant in high elevations, but on Venus the abundance seems much greater.
Directly detecting oxygen on Venus’s dayside could teach us more about how the carbon dioxide that fills Venus’s atmosphere is created. Scientists believe, based on data collected, that carbon dioxide atoms separate when they travel to Venus’s nightside and become atomic oxygen or carbon monoxide. When it returns to the nightside the molecules re-connect, resulting in carbon dioxide.
Learning more about Earth’s sister planet will help us better understand how Venus came to be the hot death pit that it is today. It could also help us understand the effects of climate change on our planet for many thousands of years.
The post Scientists detect oxygen on Venus’s dayside for the first time ever appeared first on BGR.