Tuesday, November 08, 2005

"European Space Agency Launches Venus Probe"

The Venus Express -- on its way to hell.

And what hell Venus is. (From an excellent site called The Nine Planets.)
The pressure of Venus' atmosphere at the surface is 90 atmospheres (about the same as the pressure at a depth of 1 km in Earth's oceans). It is composed mostly of carbon dioxide. There are several layers of clouds many kilometers thick composed of sulfuric acid. These clouds completely obscure our view of the surface. This dense atmosphere produces a run-away greenhouse effect that raises Venus' surface temperature by about 400 degrees to over 740 K (hot enough to melt lead). Venus' surface is actually hotter than Mercury's despite being nearly twice as far from the Sun.
Hot enough to melt lead. "The Long Rain", it's not.

NOTE: The Nine Planets Web site indicates that Venus has a very dense atmosphere. This is in contrast to my previous post quoting the Associated Press article, which says Venus "lacks atmospheric pressure." Given the two sources, I'm inclined to go along with The Nine Planets claim.

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