A satellite orbiting Venus has found that the planet has an Ozone layer similar to that of Earth’s. Useless to a planet as hot and dead as tortured Venus you might think… but what does this mean for Earths ‘twin’ planet and Earth it self?
Venus is a world quite similar to that of our own except the features that really matter for that of life to exist are so different. Venus is known as Earths ‘twin’ mainly because their size is almost identical and due to the fact it has an atmosphere high above its surface full of the common gases we depend on.
Venus orbits the sun 67 million miles away, which is over 25 million miles away from Earth. Being that close to our host star keeps temperatures soaring to 464 degrees Celsius, the hottest of any of the other seven planets.
The planet stays this hot due to the thick atmosphere layer that sits high above its surface trapping 80% of the sunlight that strikes it warming the gases inside. Venus’ heavy cloud coating is 96% carbon dioxide, which consists of three distinctive layers of Sulphuric Acid decreasing in density as you reach the boiling surface. With such a harmful array of gases how is it possible for the one we rely on to be formed?
An Ozone layer is a smaller, more delicate lining, to that of atmosphere, which covers planetary systems that produce significant levels of oxygen. Ozone is the name given to a molecule of three oxygen atoms (O3) that combine when sunlight does penetrate the concentrated poisonous atmosphere. The atoms are thrown together when the winds on Venus thrash continually around the dead body.
These ‘Ozone’ layers have only previously been detected on the Earth and its other next door neighbor Mars. On Earth this layer absorbs much of the sun’s harmful ultraviolet waves, which protect us from radiation along with the magnetic field and atmosphere. What is also believed is that the suns high level of solar rays enabled the creation of life supportive of oxygen.
This discovery of ozone by the Venus Express orbiter, and the previous acknowledgement of carbon dioxide and oxygen within the planets atmosphere, leads scientists to believe that finding other worlds that tick these biological boxes will aid the slimming down process when looking for both microbial and complex life.