Lead sulfide — also known by its mineral name, galena — is a naturally occurring mineral found in Missouri, other parts of the world, and now ... other parts of the solar system.
Bruce Fegley, Jr., Ph.D., professor of earth and planetary sciences in Arts & Sciences, and Laura Schaefer, resarch assistant in the Planetary Chemistry Laboratory, with a chunk of galena, or lead sulfide. The researchers have determined that the feature on Venus that looks like snow is composed of both lead and bismuth sulfides, settling a long-time controversy in the planetary community.
David Kilper/WUSTL Photo
Thats because recent thermodynamic calculations by researchers at Washington University in St. Louis provide plausible evidence that "heavy metal snow," which blankets the surface of upper altitude Venusian rocks, is composed of both lead and bismuth sulfides.
The findings — by Laura Schaefer, research assistant in the Planetary Chemistry Laboratory, and M. Bruce Fegley, Jr., Ph.D., professor of Earth & Planetary Sciences in Arts & Sciences — discount previous hypotheses that the snow was made of elemental tellurium. They are important also because lead sulfide "snow" could allow the dating of Venus by lead isotopes, provided a soil sample can be obtained in a future mission.
Carolyn Jones Otten | WUSTL
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