Venus Express discovers why Earth's sister can't support life

Written by:
Subscribe to Oneindia News

Washington, Nov 29 (UNI) Scarred by searing lead melting temperature and stripped of water, Venus once had vast oceans of water that could have supported life.

The first detailed analysis of the planet, also called Earth's sister planet, has explained the reasons it became inhospitable for life to flourish.

The Venus Express, launched two years ago and orbiting the planet for a year taking measurements, has shed light on why its climate was so severe.

Scientists have confirmed that lack of a protective magnetic field and the differing planetary rotation rates played a major role in ensuring many of the atmospheric processes observed on Earth occur at a much faster rate on Venus.

Venus is the closest planet to Earth in terms of its distance from the Sun, its mass, radius, density and chemical composition. Venus differs in terms of its slow rate of rotation -- once every 243 Earth days.

The latest result published in the journal Nature show the atmosphere is a turbulent, three-dimensional structure which can be divided into four major components from the Venusian equator to the poles. They also reveal that Venus experiences lightning strikes which has important implications for the chemistry of the planet's atmosphere.

More than 30 spacecraft have visited Venus since the first probe, Mariner 2, was sent by the United States in 1962. Venus Express is loaded with scientific instruments designed to monitor a suite of phenomena, such as the amount of heavy water vapour in the atmosphere and the strength of any magnetic field. One of the biggest mysteries is how Venus lost its water, although the lack of a protective magnetic field suggests it was something to do with the solar wind.


Please Wait while comments are loading...