An incredible new discovery on Venus shows what "electric wind" is doing to the planet.
Scientists have made a discovery on Venus that scientists have called “amazing, shocking.”
The planet has an “electric wind” that is so strong it removes the components of water from the upper atmosphere, which may explain why Venus never got the oceans that its twin Earth did, based on results from the European Space Agency’s Venus Express mission according to a NASA statement.
Glyn Collinson, a scientists at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, used those superlatives to describe the discovery, stating that scientists never even dreamed that electric wind could be this powerful, and it could affect how future missions look for habitable planets around other stars.
Venus is the most like Earth of all the other planets in terms of size and gravity, and signs exist that there wer eonce oceans worth of water there, but temperatures are extremely hot, likely boiling away any oceans. Venus, however, has a very thick atmosphere with about 100 times the pressure of Earth, and despite that has up to 100,000 times less water than Earth.
Scientists now think that electric wind is what removed all that steam. The hydrogen and oxygen in water separated, and the hydrogen escaped while the oxygen oxidized rocks on the planet’s surface.
“It’s amazing, shocking,” Collinson said. “We never dreamt an electric wind could be so powerful that it can suck oxygen right out of an atmosphere into space. This is something that has to be on the checklist when we go looking for habitable planets around other stars.”