Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Basque Country University researchers publish two articles in Nature on latest discoveries on Venus

03.12.2007
Nature journal has published a series of articles devoted to the new discoveries by the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Venus Express space probe made on our neighbouring planet. Two researchers from the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), Agustín Sánchez Lavega and Ricardo Hueso of the Planetary Sciences Team at the Higher School of Engineering in Bilbao, are the co-authors of the two articles.

The Venus Express space mission was launched in November 2005 and entered in planetary orbit in April 2006. Since then it has been regularly sending data and images from Venus. Thanks to this space mission, researchers are beginning to reveal some of the secrets of this mysterious planet, so similar in size to the Earth while, at the same time, being an inhospitable world with its high temperatures caused by a runaway greenhouse effect and the poisonous composition of its atmosphere and clouds.

Researchers Agustín Sánchez Lavega and Ricardo Hueso took part in the observations and analyses carried out by VIRTIS, a spectrum camera that takes pictures simultaneously in visible and infrared light and obtains high-resolution spectra. Nature magazine has published seven research articles, two of which have been co-written by the abovementioned researchers. The aim of the investigation is the detailed study of the planet’s atmosphere, its meteorology, its strange, sulphuric acid cloud formations and the evolution of its climate.

In one of the articles Sánchez-Lavega and Hueso present a detailed study of the chemical processes and the movements which affect two gases that are of great interest for our planet Earth (carbon dioxide and oxygen) and which are present at a distance from the planet surface – at a height of between 95 and 115 km. The upper atmosphere of Venus is very tenuous and its behaviour helps to understand the energy mechanisms occurring between outer space and the deepest and densest atmosphere of the planet. The intense ultraviolet light from the Sun decomposes carbon dioxide molecules into carbon monoxide and oxygen and which then move to the nocturnal side of the planet. Here they recombine to form molecules of oxygen and emit infrared light. The researchers have presented in detail the movements of the masses of excited oxygen which move from the diurnal side (illuminated by the Sun) to the nocturnal side, with speeds of up to 250 km/h, as well as the mechanisms operating in the intense infrared emission of the oxygen.

In the other article the discovery of the South Pole double vortex (the dipole) is presented. This is a whirlwind in rapid rotation around the planet’s Pole (it’s takes 2.5 days) and which extends throughout the cloud layers at an altitude of between 50 and 65 kms. The study of this meteorological structure is of great interest in order to understand the mechanisms involved in the formation of similar vortexes, especially that of the Earth’s Antarctic continent, where this is one of the agents responsible for the appearance of the ozone layer gap. We have discovered that the polar vortex on Venus is a double one, in the shape of an eight and which, at times, forms at a height of 65 km where it is detected at high temperatures. At the deepest cloud layers the whirlwind is unique and its clouds are very opaque (at an altitude of 45-50 km).

With these kinds of comparative studies between the atmospheres of Venus and the Earth, researchers hope to obtain a better understanding of the greenhouse effect, the formation and chemistry of the sulphuric acid clouds, the nature of the vortexes (whirlwinds) in the polar atmospheres of the planets as well as the meteorology of the planets that rotate slowly. The research will enable obtaining knowledge of climate change on our planet. In short, the aim is to understand why a planet which has such a similar mass, size and chemical composition to those of the Earth can have such a different climate evolution.

Garazi Andonegi | alfa
Further information:
http://www.basqueresearch.com/berria_irakurri.asp?hizk=I&Berri_Kod=1543

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Beyond the brim, Sombrero Galaxy's halo suggests turbulent past
21.02.2020 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht 10,000 times faster calculations of many-body quantum dynamics possible
21.02.2020 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A step towards controlling spin-dependent petahertz electronics by material defects

The operational speed of semiconductors in various electronic and optoelectronic devices is limited to several gigahertz (a billion oscillations per second). This constrains the upper limit of the operational speed of computing. Now researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Hamburg, Germany, and the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay have explained how these processes can be sped up through the use of light waves and defected solid materials.

Light waves perform several hundred trillion oscillations per second. Hence, it is natural to envision employing light oscillations to drive the electronic...

Im Focus: Freiburg researcher investigate the origins of surface texture

Most natural and artificial surfaces are rough: metals and even glasses that appear smooth to the naked eye can look like jagged mountain ranges under the microscope. There is currently no uniform theory about the origin of this roughness despite it being observed on all scales, from the atomic to the tectonic. Scientists suspect that the rough surface is formed by irreversible plastic deformation that occurs in many processes of mechanical machining of components such as milling.

Prof. Dr. Lars Pastewka from the Simulation group at the Department of Microsystems Engineering at the University of Freiburg and his team have simulated such...

Im Focus: Skyrmions like it hot: Spin structures are controllable even at high temperatures

Investigation of the temperature dependence of the skyrmion Hall effect reveals further insights into possible new data storage devices

The joint research project of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that had previously demonstrated...

Im Focus: Making the internet more energy efficient through systemic optimization

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, recently completed a 5-year research project looking at how to make fibre optic communications systems more energy efficient. Among their proposals are smart, error-correcting data chip circuits, which they refined to be 10 times less energy consumptive. The project has yielded several scientific articles, in publications including Nature Communications.

Streaming films and music, scrolling through social media, and using cloud-based storage services are everyday activities now.

Im Focus: New synthesis methods enhance 3D chemical space for drug discovery

After helping develop a new approach for organic synthesis -- carbon-hydrogen functionalization -- scientists at Emory University are now showing how this approach may apply to drug discovery. Nature Catalysis published their most recent work -- a streamlined process for making a three-dimensional scaffold of keen interest to the pharmaceutical industry.

"Our tools open up whole new chemical space for potential drug targets," says Huw Davies, Emory professor of organic chemistry and senior author of the paper.

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

70th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting: Around 70 Laureates set to meet with young scientists from approx. 100 countries

12.02.2020 | Event News

11th Advanced Battery Power Conference, March 24-25, 2020 in Münster/Germany

16.01.2020 | Event News

Laser Colloquium Hydrogen LKH2: fast and reliable fuel cell manufacturing

15.01.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

Active droplets

21.02.2020 | Medical Engineering

Finding new clues to brain cancer treatment

21.02.2020 | Health and Medicine

Beyond the brim, Sombrero Galaxy's halo suggests turbulent past

21.02.2020 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>