Venus Revealed: Oxygen Traces Discovered in Atmosphere

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An incredible discovery was made by astronomers under the direction of German Aerospace Center physicist Heinz-Wilhelm Hübers: they found atomic oxygen in Venus’s dayside atmosphere.

The finding provides fresh information on the dynamics and circulation of the planet’s atmosphere.

The astonishing and direct detection contributes significantly to our understanding of the functioning of Venus’s atmosphere and demonstrates the remarkable inventiveness of planetary science. 

Three days’ worth of observations in 2021—including this day two years ago—showed that atomic oxygen was present at 17 distinct locations on the planet, seven of which were on its dayside.

The oxygen was visible roughly 62 miles (100 km) above Venus’s surface, between the planet’s sulfuric acid clouds as well as the powerful winds that were blowing about 75 miles (120 km) above the surface.

Venus Oxygen Originates From C0 and C02

Venus-Revealed-Oxygen-Traces-Discovered-Atmosphere
An incredible discovery was made by astronomers under the direction of German Aerospace Center physicist Heinz-Wilhelm Hübers: they found atomic oxygen in Venus’s dayside atmosphere.

As per the team’s belief, the oxygen present on Venus is most likely derived from molecules of carbon monoxide as well as carbon dioxide, which are fragmented by solar energy and transported to the planet’s darker side by strong winds in the upper atmosphere.

Venus, with its noxious atmosphere full of sulfuric acid clouds along with a typical temperature of 850° Fahrenheit, wasn’t always so unpleasant. 

Given the similarities and clear differences between the two worlds, the planet may be referred to as Earth’s fraternal twin.

Venus may have previously had oceans, but they vanished when the planet became trapped in a greenhouse effect that went out of control (although additional research revealed that the oceans that may have once existed were actually lava lakes).

Three Venus-focused missions were announced by NASA and ESA in a short period in the spring of 2021.

The European space agency, EnVision, had previously revealed its Venus orbiter, while the American space agency, DAVINCI+, had approved VERITAS.

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