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NASA/Harvard Teams Say "Finding a Second Earth Could Happen Anytime Now"

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Author Topic: NASA/Harvard Teams Say "Finding a Second Earth Could Happen Anytime Now"  (Read 55 times)
Robert0326
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« on: October 04, 2009, 08:38:23 am »

Why do you have to ruin a great article with your nonsense Volitzer?

Although Venus is called the Earth's "twin," its surface conditions appear to be very different from those of the Earth. Geologists have had difficulty learning about the surface of Venus because the planet is always surrounded by thick clouds of sulfuric acid. They have used radar, radio astronomy equipment, and space probes to "explore" Venus.

Until recently, much of what geologists knew about the surface of Venus came from ground-based radar observations, the Soviet Union's Venera space probes, and United States Pioneer probes. In 1990, the U.S. space probe Magellan began orbiting Venus, using radar to map the planet's surface.

The surface of Venus is extremely hot and dry. There is no liquid water on the planet's surface because the high temperature would cause any liquid to boil away.

Venus has a variety of surface features, including level ground, mountains, canyons, and valleys. About 65 percent of the surface is covered by flat, smooth plains. On these plains are thousands of volcanoes, ranging from about 0.5 to 150 miles (0.8 to 240 kilometers) in diameter. Six mountainous regions make up about 35 percent of the surface of Venus. One mountain range, called Maxwell, is about 7 miles (11.3 kilometers) high and about 540 miles (870 kilometers) long. It is the highest feature on the planet. In an area called Beta Regio is a canyon that is 0.6 mile (1.0 kilometer) deep.

There are also impact craters on the surface of Venus. Impact craters form when a planet and asteroid collide. The moon, Mars, and Mercury are covered with impact craters, but Venus has substantially fewer craters. The scarcity of impact craters on Venus has led geologists to conclude that the present surface is less than 1 billion years old.

A number of surface features on Venus are unlike anything on the Earth. For example, Venus has coronae (crowns), ringlike structures that range from about 95 to 360 miles (155 to 580 kilometers) in diameter. Scientists believe that coronae form when hot material inside the planet rises to the surface. Also on Venus are tesserae (tiles), raised areas in which many ridges and valleys have formed in different directions.

The atmosphere of Venus is heavier than that of any other planet. It consists primarily of carbon dioxide, with small amounts of nitrogen and water vapor. The planet's atmosphere also contains minute traces of argon, carbon monoxide, neon, and sulfur dioxide. The atmospheric pressure (pressure exerted by the weight of the gases) on Venus is estimated at 1,323 pounds per square inch (9,122 kilopascals). This is about 90 times greater than the atmospheric pressure on the Earth, which is about 14.7 pounds per square inch (101 kilopascals).

Temperature

The temperature of the uppermost layer of Venus's clouds averages about 55 degrees F (13 degrees C). However, the temperature of the planet's surface is about 870 degrees F (465 degrees C), higher than that of any other planet and hotter than most ovens.

The plants and animals that live on the Earth could not live on the surface of Venus, because of the high temperature. Astronomers do not know whether any form of life exists on Venus, but they doubt that it does.

Most astronomers believe that Venus's high surface temperature can be explained by what is known as the greenhouse effect. A greenhouse lets in radiant energy from the sun, but it prevents much of the heat from escaping. The thick clouds and dense atmosphere of Venus work in much the same way. The sun's radiant energy readily filters into the planet's atmosphere. But the large droplets of sulfuric acid present in Venus's clouds -- and the great quantity of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere -- seem to trap much of the solar energy at the planet's surface.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2009, 08:42:08 am by Robert0326 » Report Spam   Logged

Blasphemy is a victimless crime.
"The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as His father, in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter."     Letter to John Adams, April 11, 1823 -Thomas Jefferson


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