Somewhat ironically given their namesakes, when it comes Earth’s neighbors, Mars gets most of the love, and nearly all the hardware. Understandably so, as Venus is more a lead-melting hell-hole than a goddess of beauty. Nevertheless, the planet which is closest to our own in size and gravity does warrant the occasional glance, and the latest one is proving to be fascinating indeed.
Based on a new study of that planet’s electrical field, scientists believe they may be closer to solving the mystery of what happened to its oceans. Critically, it may help to re-write our understanding of how to search for Earth-like worlds in other systems.
“Venus has an “electric wind” strong enough to remove the components of water from its upper atmosphere, which may have played a significant role in stripping Earth’s twin planet of its oceans, according to new results from ESA’s (European Space Agency) Venus Express mission by NASA-funded researchers.
“It’s amazing, shocking,” said Glyn Collinson, a scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “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.” Collinson is lead author of a paper about this research published June 20, 2016, in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.”
The full article is here.