Saturday, May 17, 2008


Hydroxyl in Venus's Atmosphere

Credit: ESA/C. Carreau

Hydroxyl, an important but difficult-to-detect molecule, is made up of a hydrogen and oxygen atom each. It has been found in the upper reaches of the Venusian atmosphere by Venus Express's Visible and Infrared Thermal Imaging Spectrometer, VIRTIS.

Who cares? :-)

Well, it means that we will learn a lot more about Venus' atmosphere. And perhaps more important to most earthlings, it means that Venus is more like the Earth and ultimately this new discovery will lead to a better understanding of the Earth, our home, as well.

It is particularly it's role relative to ozone, atmospheric molecules regulating and protecting us from stellar radiation, that makes hydroxyl interesting.

I care!

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