When one thinks about snow-capped mountains, the last place that might come to mind is Venus, a place where on the surface it is hot enough to melt lead. But as it turns out, Venus does have snow – sort of.
Venus has a reputation for being one of the most inhospitable places in the solar system, and deservedly so. Its thick carbon dioxide (and acidic) atmosphere has a crushing pressure similar to that in the deepest oceans on Earth and the scorching temperature on the surface is hot enough to melt lead. It’s like that everywhere on the planet, all the time. It has therefore been considered an extremely unlikely environment to support any kind of life. Even the toughest microbes here would find survival next to impossible. There is however a possibility, even if remote, that the upper atmosphere of this hellish world could be habitable, according to some scientists.
The Cassini spacecraft has been orbiting Saturn for a long time now, taking stunning images of the giant planet and its rings and moons. Some new images, released today, show a different world though, far across the solar system and much closer to the sun -Venus.
When you think of Venus, the image that comes to mind is that of a sweltering hot hell-hole, which is basically true. With temperatures on the surface hot enough to melt lead and crushing atmospheric pressure, it is not the kind of place you’d want to take a vacation.
But now scientists have found an unusual anomaly, a region of Venus’ atmosphere that is the opposite of this. About 125 kilometres (78 miles) above the surface, there is a layer in the atmosphere which is approximately -175˚ C (-283˚ F). That is cold enough that carbon dioxide, which comprises most of Venus’ thick atmosphere, could turn to ice or snow. It’s even colder than any part of Earth’s atmosphere.
See Examiner.com for the full article.