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Space & Astronomy

What happened to all the water on Venus ?

By T.K. Randall
June 21, 2016 · Comment icon 7 comments

Venus' atmosphere is many thousands of times drier than the Earth's. Image Credit: NASA
Scientists have been investigating where all the water in the atmosphere of Venus disappeared to.
With surface temperatures exceeding 860 degrees and crushing atmospheric pressures that are more than 100 times those found on the Earth, it is certainly no surprise that Venus is bone dry.

The big question however is where did its water actually go ? Any water that boiled off the surface should have ended up as steam in the atmosphere but there is next to no moisture there at all - roughly 10,000 to 100,000 times less than can be found in the atmosphere of the Earth.

The answer, scientists believe, lies in the strong electrical field surrounding the planet.
"It turns out that Venus's electric field is at least 5 to 10 times stronger than on Earth," said NASA's Glyn Collinson. "It can rip heavy things, like oxygen, straight out of the upper atmosphere and send them kicking and screaming off into space."

This is significant, because it not only explains how the water on Venus was lost once it was broken down in to oxygen and hydrogen ions but it could also be an important factor to consider in the hunt for Earth-like worlds around distant stars.

"This really changes the way we have to think about planets," said Collinson.

"It's no good having conditions perfect for an ocean and an atmosphere that you might want to breathe if some invisible force is going to come along and rip it all of into space."

Source: Christian Science Monitor | Comments (7)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by paperdyer 6 years ago
I didn't think Venus was that inhospitable. I guess we won't go to Venus after we're done messy-up the Earth. 
Comment icon #2 Posted by thelion318 6 years ago
I wonder if that water ended up on Earth
Comment icon #3 Posted by BeastieRunner 6 years ago
How ... ?
Comment icon #4 Posted by CJ1983 6 years ago
/in the softest of voices.....Magiiiiiiic...
Comment icon #5 Posted by jethrofloyd 6 years ago
8 hours ago, CJ1983 said: .Magiiiiiiic...Enthused...!
Comment icon #6 Posted by Astra. 6 years ago
Yep - Venus is a very hostile planet....and I doubt very much that man will set-up camp there to soon.  For starters we would probably be incinerated  In any case - you might find this interesting....and it's not that long either.    
Comment icon #7 Posted by paperdyer 6 years ago
@ Astra  -Thanks.  Maybe Venus is actually Hell.  Sure sounds like it!

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