The decades-old assumption was taken away by NASA messenger data. Earth which comprised of different gases is uniformly mixed in a certain atmosphere. The old assumption of Venus showed the same results that the gases in the atmosphere are uniformly mixed below the altitude of 100 kilometers like the Earth. On April 20 the NASA’s Messenger spacecraft showed the data in which the assumption goes wrong and came up with another data that the amount of Nitrogen present in the atmosphere contains a different layer of gases with different nitrogen concentrations.
The new assumption can change the perception and analyzing method of astronomers which may cause as cautionary act in studying the atmospheres of planets around other stars. A physicist at John Hopkins University Applies Physics Laboratory, Patrick Peplowski says that the new assumption did not provide data that the upper part of the planet reflects the same conditions as the lower part.
In a study of NASA Messenger 2007, Peplowski and his colleagues observed the number of neutrons escaping in the Venus. The neutrons are produced by the galactic cosmic rays which are the highly energetic particles, hitting the gas at an atmosphere between 60 to 90 kilometers in Venus. The high amount of nitrogen at atmosphere of 100 kilometers present as the nitrogen tends to absorb the neutrons.
In 1970 the nitrogen concentration was calculated at 3.5 percent closer to Venus surface along with the altitude below 45 kilometers. In the atmosphere between 60 to 90 kilometers, the gases must contain 5 percent nitrogen in order to make count of neutrons absorbed. Making the Venus as different as analyzed before, the physicists are figuring out the amount of nitrogen present on the upper atmosphere differing from the lower atmosphere. The new data needs much concentration and study in order to prove the Messenger spacecraft’s collection.
There is no clarity still that why the nitrogen amount is more in the upper atmosphere than in the lower atmosphere. The divide between the nitrogen layer of gases overlaps with the amount of sulfur dioxide present at 50 kilometers above the ground. The sulfur dioxide forms clouds which are a dividing line between the lower atmosphere and the upper atmosphere.
Despite the 50 years of observations and sending robots to the Venus, did not provide accurate data of nitrogen concentration especially between 30 to 60 miles above the surface. David Lawrence, a nuclear physicist says that the uncertainty could be on the entire planet. Peplwoski says that the investigation came along with the stroke of luck which surprises many physicists but it is still not clear regarding the amount of nitrogen present on the upper and lower atmosphere. We are standing and still learning the fundamental things about Venus. The conclusion does need a lot more data but sometimes luck comes in our way.