By Frédéric J. Pont
Planetary atmospheres are advanced and evolving entities, as mankind is speedily coming to understand while trying to comprehend, forecast and mitigate human-induced weather swap. within the sun process, our neighbours Venus and Mars supply awesome examples of 2 endpoints of planetary evolution, runaway greenhouse and lack of surroundings to space.
The number of extra-solar planets brings a much wider perspective to the problem: from sizzling "hot jupiters'' to ocean worlds, exo-atmospheres discover many configurations unknown within the sunlight method, reminiscent of iron clouds, silicate rains, severe plate tectonics, and steam volcanoes. Exoplanetary atmospheres have lately turn into obtainable to observations.
This booklet places our personal weather within the wider context of the pains and tribulations of planetary atmospheres. according to state-of-the-art examine, it makes use of a grand journey of the atmospheres of different planets to polish a brand new gentle on our personal surroundings, and its relation with life.
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Additional resources for Alien Skies: Planetary Atmospheres from Earth to Exoplanets
4 Composition and size of the Martian atmosphere compared to Earth. Chapter 3 – Mars 45 mostly nitrogen and argon, temperature between –120 and 0 degrees Celsius, these are the life statistics of the present atmosphere on Mars: not much of an atmosphere to be honest, with a surface pressure only one hundredth of that at sea level on Earth today. That is 99 percent of the way to empty space. It may not be too obvious from science-fiction novels and NASA coverage of Mars exploration, but the atmosphere on the surface of Mars is much thinner than that on Earth even at five times the height of Mount Everest.
They are also much thinner than Earth’s clouds, more like a morning fog or, indeed, industrial smog over a city. The visibility within Venusian clouds is several kilometres, as opposed to a few metres in our water clouds. The Venusian cloud cover is opaque not because the clouds are dense, but because they extend over such a deep layer. Venusian clouds are more transparent than ours because the grains and droplets in them are much smaller, a few micrometres across, whereas 34 Chapter 2 – Venus Fig.
Only in some remote corners of the Arctic and on high mountains does warm rain occasionally reach the ground. Steaming, temporary rivulets snake down the slopes, but evaporate before reaching the boiling sea. The last human survivors gather underground near these streams, in volcanic caves under Mount Erebus in Antarctica. 7 percent water vapour. At that point, a few decades after bringing it nearer to the Sun, the planet looks like Venus in many respects, entirely shrouded in thick clouds, with an enormous surface pressure and very high temperature.
Alien Skies: Planetary Atmospheres from Earth to Exoplanets by Frédéric J. Pont