Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Earth-like Lightning On Venus, European Space Probe Confirms

Date:
November 29, 2007
Source:
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Summary:
Venus is a hellish place of high temperatures and crushing air pressure. The European Space Agency's Venus Express mission adds into this mix the first confirmation that the Venusian atmosphere generates its own lightning. Scientists currently know of only three other planetary bodies in the entire universe that generate lightning -- Earth, Jupiter and Saturn.

Artist concept of lightning on Venus.
Credit: ESA

Venus is a hellish place of high temperatures and crushing air pressure. The European Space Agency's Venus Express mission adds into this mix the first confirmation that the Venusian atmosphere generates its own lightning. 

"In addition to all the pressure and heat, we can confirm there is lightning on Venus -- maybe even more activity than there is here on Earth," said Christopher Russell, a NASA-sponsored scientist on Venus Express from the University of California, Los Angeles, and lead author of one of the Nature papers*. "Not a very good place to vacation, that is for sure."

The discovery puts Venus in elite planetary company. Scientists currently know of only three other planetary bodies in the entire universe that generate lightning -- Earth, Jupiter and Saturn. Lightning on Venus -- as well as on any other planet -- is an important discovery because the electrical discharges drive the chemistry of an atmosphere by breaking molecules into fragments that can then join with other fragments in unexpected ways. The lightning on Venus is unique from that found on Earth, Jupiter and Saturn in that it is the only lightning known that is not associated with water clouds. Instead, on Venus, the lightning is associated with clouds of sulfuric acid.

Any future missions to the second rock from the sun may have to take into account the electrical activity in the Venusian atmosphere.

The confirming measurements of the electrical discharges were made with data obtained by the Venus Express magnetometer instrument provided by the Space Research Institute in Graz, Austria. The measurements were taken once a day for two minutes, during a period when the spacecraft was closest to Venus. A Venusian day is about 117 days long.

With its primary mission completed, Venus Express will now embark upon its extended mission to watch Earth’s nearest planetary neighbor for two more Venusian days. Among other things, it will look for the telltale infrared radiation from lava flows. In 2010, when a Japanese mission, Venus Climate Orbiter, also called Planet-C, arrives at Venus, scientists will be able to compare results from the two spacecraft.

More than 250 scientists and engineers across Europe are involved in the Venus Express mission, supported by their institutes and national space agencies. The mission also sees the contribution of scientists from Russia and Japan, as well as from NASA, which sponsors 15 American Venus Express scientists and provides support to the radio science investigation via its Deep Space Network antennas.

*The discovery is part of the Venus Express science findings that appear in a special section of the Nov. 29 issue of the journal Nature.

Related images and graphics are online at http://www.esa.int/venus .



Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "Earth-like Lightning On Venus, European Space Probe Confirms." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 November 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071128155513.htm>.
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (2007, November 29). Earth-like Lightning On Venus, European Space Probe Confirms. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071128155513.htm
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "Earth-like Lightning On Venus, European Space Probe Confirms." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071128155513.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

French Apple Fans Discover the Apple Watch

French Apple Fans Discover the Apple Watch

AFP (Sep. 30, 2014) — Apple fans in France discover the latest toy, the Apple Watch. The watch comes in two sizes and an array of interchangeable, fashionable wrist straps. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Water You Drink Might Be Older Than The Sun

The Water You Drink Might Be Older Than The Sun

Newsy (Sep. 27, 2014) — Researchers at the University of Michigan simulated the birth of planets and our sun to determine whether water in the solar system predates the sun. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Woman Cosmonaut in 17 Years Blasts Off for ISS

First Woman Cosmonaut in 17 Years Blasts Off for ISS

AFP (Sep. 26, 2014) — A Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying an American astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts, including the first woman cosmonaut in 17 years, blasted off on schedule Friday. Duration: 00:35 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Water Discovery On Small Planet Could Be Key To Earth 2.0

Water Discovery On Small Planet Could Be Key To Earth 2.0

Newsy (Sep. 25, 2014) — Scientists have discovered traces of water in the atmosphere of a distant, Neptune-sized planet. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins