Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sulfur Dioxide Could Point to Active Volcanoes on Venus

Image Credit: Artist’s impression of an active volcano on Venus. Credit: ESA/AOES

Earlier this month, the ESA's Venus Express, which has been orbiting Venus since 2006, detected fluctuations in the sulfur dioxide content of the planet's upper atmosphere, which could potentially indicate the presence of volcanic activity on it's surface. As usual, taken on their own, the probe's findings are inconclusive, and a variety of other phenomena could also be responsible for the fluctuation; including regular but, as of yet undefined anomalies, within the circulatory patterns of Venus' atmosphere. But taken along with various other scientific observations made of the planet over the years, they do seem to reinforce the widely held view that Venus' surface could still very well be rich with volcanic activity.

So this story, originally from Dec 3rd,  goes on the list of science news items that I inevitably wind up missing in the noise of the web. And while I don't really have anything of value to add to it, since I don't have any scientific expertise of my own to offer, it seems like people only really care about space science if it involves potential alien life- if they care at all in the first place. And while keeping Venus extremely low, if not outright absent altogether where any list of potential home worlds for alien life forms is concerned is likely a pretty safe bet, that doesn't make understanding the science of how that world works, any less interesting or important. Because Aliens, are not the only reason to care about space.

That's why I was going to torment us both with a lot of text about all the interesting things I have now taken the time to learn about the planet, as a result of reading about the ESA's findings. Since, much to my own shame, I realized I actually didn't know much about the planet myself, outside of a few standard trivia-grade fun facts. But, thankfully for both of us, YouTube is a thing, and has yet to be fully cleansed of worthwhile content.

So instead, I offer Cosmic Journeys- Venus, the death of a planet, from Jason media, which you'll find below, and which includes loads of worthwhile information on the historical, as well as, the current scientific understanding of Venus itself, along a variety of other related astronomical phenomena. All in all, it's a pretty descent, and well produced series in general, and I really like it thus far. Although, in this particular episode,  I cold have done without the sci-fi tangent that picks up around the 4:30 mark. But in the producers' defense, I did go looking for First Spaceship on Venus, immediately after watching it.

Source: Red Orbit
Image Credit: ESA/AOES

Posted by YouTube user: SpaceRip

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