Questions tagged [atmosphere]

Questions regarding an envelope of gasses surrounding a celestial body held in place by the body's gravity.

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33
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3answers
13k views

Effect of atmospheric drag on rocket launches and benefits of high altitude launch sites

What is the approximate influence of atmospheric drag on the cost of rocket launches? Is it beneficial to have launch sites located at higher altitudes? Cape Canaveral is at sea level, but I've ...
17
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3answers
8k views

How do you 'make oxygen' on Mars?

This morning's BBC News says that a 2020 rover mission to Mars will "make oxygen". There is a brief line indication that it will extract it from atmospheric CO₂, but no other details. What process ...
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7answers
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Why is the breathing atmosphere of the ISS a standard atmosphere (at 1 atm containing nitrogen)?

The Wikipedia page for the International Space Station says that it has a fairly Earth-like, sea-level atmosphere: 21% oxygen, balance nitrogen at 101.3 kPa. Supposedly it's because a pure-oxygen ...
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3answers
3k views

Is the “airship to orbit” mission profile feasible?

By one of those weird coincidences, I had been on JP Aerospace's site mere hours before reading this question about space dirigibles here. Their mission plan seems too good to be true. They are ...
8
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3answers
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Atmospheric density vs. altitude

I'm looking for information on atmospheric density in Earth orbit. All the atmospheric density graphs I've found go no higher than 100 km. Definitions like the US Standard Atmosphere don't go higher ...
2
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0answers
419 views

Why does Earth's atmospheric density have a big “knee” around 100 km? Is there a good analytical approximation?

I've used a quick very rough approximation of the drop of atmospheric density with altitude in this answer and in this answer by using a single exponential and scale height parameter, but that's not ...
15
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2answers
8k views

Flying on dense atmosphere planets & moons

Would certain types of flying be possible on planets like Venus, Titan (which is a moon, I know :P), or gas-giants? I'm thinking on the aspects of these types of aircrafts: airships (that uses only ...
15
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2answers
24k views

Could you feel the wind on Mars?

The air pressure on Mars is about 1% that of Earth's at sea level. But wind speeds on Mars can be higher, up to maybe 60 mph sustained (actually I have come across several different figures, some ...
10
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2answers
540 views

Challenging the Kármán line from above

The initial conditions of the thought experiment is (very) LEO / reentry. capsules, space shuttle and other spacecraft can generate lift in upper atmosphere during reentry, in order to reduce ...
12
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2answers
2k views

Is Mars' gravity strong enough to hold a human-breathable atmosphere?

If we ever try to make Mars outdoors habitable, won't the air just keep flying off into the outer space because of low gravity?
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4answers
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Is wind-power a viable backup power source for Mars One?

A question related to What power source options provide reliable and sustainable power generation for a Martian Colony, particularly the answer that solar and nuclear based energy sources being the ...
4
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4answers
409 views

Does “What happens beyond Kármán, stay beyond Kármán”?

The title refers to the promotional slogan "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas." The question How much CO2 would city-to-city rocket flight produce compared to airliners? seems to be focused on ...
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3answers
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What will be the effect if we stand on Jupiter?

As we all know Jupiter is a gaseous gas giant and it has a large mass, almost twice the sum of all other planets in the Solar system. So, if it happens that we go to Jupiter and as we know it does not ...
7
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2answers
3k views

What useful materials can be extracted from Venusian atmosphere?

Consider a cloud-top colony on Venus. What materials needed for the upkeep and expanding of the colony can be taken from Venusian atmosphere, excluding any possibility of mining the surface?
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8answers
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Would a settlement on Mars need to import Nitrogen?

The air on Earth is about 20% oxygen and about 78% nitrogen. Best case, there seems to be sufficient oxygen (in water) to support colonization in the polar ice caps. What about the other 4/5 of the ...
7
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1answer
400 views

Non-vacuum ion propulsion

Are there any ion thrusters which could conceivably provide thrust inside the atmosphere? Not that they'd have enough thrust to take off under their own power, of course; I'm just wondering whether ...
18
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3answers
8k views

Maximum survivable atmospheric pressure

Given a similar mix of gases to those in our Earth's atmosphere, what is the upper limit of survivable atmospheric pressure for a human? Could a human survive higher pressures with a gas mix unlike ...
12
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1answer
1k views

How long will it be light on Venus at night?

The atmosphere of Earth bends light such that there is still light after the sun goes down for a period of time. How would such effects appear on Venus, given the thicker atmosphere?
11
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4answers
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Boiling ponds and pools on Mars?

In the related questions Can you take a bath on Mars? & How would swimming on Mars feel, given the lower gravity? we learn that bathing and swimming on Mars is much like it is on Earth. Some ...
7
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1answer
578 views

How deep a valley or trench would be needed on Mars to provide the same atmospheric pressure as 6 km above sea level on Earth?

Atmospheric pressure increases the deeper you go & the highest growing plants on Earth have been found at a height of 6 km so how deep a trench would we need on Mars to provide similar air ...
2
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1answer
175 views

Can air pressure be accumulated this way for a biodome or spacesuit?

Using plastic or rubber or something similar and transparent be inflated with each layer having a increasing pressure lessening the strain on the containing material? When one or two layers fails the ...
31
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3answers
7k views

Could the Moon keep an atmosphere?

When we think of terraforming a body in our galaxy Mars gets lots of consideration as the closest potential body. But what about the Moon? It is currently beyond our ability to add an atmosphere ...
8
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2answers
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What are the characteristics of the Earth's atmosphere near the Karman line and why?

I am wondering - what is the nature of the atmosphere in and around the transition to space at the Karman line? It is not difficult to find references using terms like "in the atmosphere" and "out of ...
7
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1answer
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What are reentry speeds of space vehicles?

I found here that the entry speed of meteors reach 48 km/s. I mean just before hitting atmosphere. What are reentry speeds for space vehicles like the lunar command module? What about soyuz ...
16
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4answers
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When did planetary scientists realize Venus' surface pressure was almost 100x that on Earth? How did they find out?

The question Surface of Venus - what would it look like to see a spacecraft crushed by the atmospheric pressure? is a good one! That plus comments below this answer got me thinking first about just ...
12
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1answer
432 views

Does Venus have doldrums or horse latitudes (latitudes with lower winds)?

Because of all the heat fueling convection cells, Venus has some brisk winds especially in the upper atmosphere (up to 370 km/h). I realize the winds are quite slow at the surface, but are there any ...
11
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2answers
988 views

Why not bring life to the atmosphere of Venus along with the next exploring mission?

Why not bring cyanobacteria and fertilizer to the atmosphere of Venus to improve conditions for life there by producing oxygen ? Planetary protection could be a reason. According to Wikipedia: ...
10
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1answer
7k views

If Mars had more atmosphere how warm would it be?

Looking at Venus, Earth and Mars, the closer you are to the sun the warmer you are. At the same time the warmer planets also have thicker atmospheres. ...
10
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3answers
435 views

Strategies for combating ESD and ground plane potential shifts on spacecraft charging?

What are some common design guidelines/practices to combat the electrical effects of spacecraft charging(e.g. ESD, ground plane shift). Is it to focus on more resilient parts, and reduce resistance/...
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4answers
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Why is it not possible to deorbit in a shallow glidepath?

The fiery re-entry of spacecraft has been a staple of spaceflight since the beginning, making ablative heat shielding a necessary component of any craft wishing to return to Earth intact. This is the ...
12
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2answers
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How much sunlight gets to the surface of Titan? What would astronauts see?

Saturn being at 10 A.U. means sunlight on Titan's cloud tops is about 1/100 that on Earth's. That's 4000 times the illumination of Earth's moon. Titan's atmosphere is described as opaque smog. If ...
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2answers
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Can we make a space blimp?

OK. Hear me out. I know that blimps float because of the buoyancy of air, and there is no air in space. But think of the way a boat floats on the top of water even though the material that the boat is ...
7
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2answers
560 views

What is the deepest place on Mars? Do humans need pressurized suits there?

Is there any particular deep area, trench, fissure, lava tube or otherwise on of Mars in which a person could survive with only an oxygen supply? How deep would plants or animals have to be in Mars ...
7
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1answer
737 views

A cloud-top colony on Venus, will it drift to the poles?

Suppose a cloud-top colony on Venus. Provided that it has no thrusting engines, where it will tend to go naturally with winds, to the equator, to the poles or elsewhere?
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3answers
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Are Martian winds as strong as portrayed in “The Martian”?

I read Andy Weir's "The Martian" and saw the movie, which is supposed to be realistic science fiction. And I immediately saw a couple of huge flaws, one of which I'd like to tackle with this question: ...
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2answers
125 views

Faster alternative to travel to any location in the west

Suppose one needs to travel to Somalia from Indonesia(which are approximately at a distance of $4000$ miles from each other on the line of equator). To accomplish this task, I suggest the following ...
17
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5answers
1k views

Is atmospheric skimming for propellant feasible?

A recent comment in a discussion of satellite refueling mentioned the possiblity of a spacecraft dipping into the atmosphere from LEO to obtain oxygen. Similarly, the science fiction RPG Traveller ...
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4answers
3k views

When does an aerobraking space craft create a sonic boom?

There are a lot of variables with the speed of sound, a sonic boom is created when all of those variables meet. the speed of sound, a critical speed known as Mach 1, and is approximately 1,225 km/h ...
10
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3answers
602 views

Will uncovering the ice deposit in Utopia Planitia improve the climate on Mars?

In 2016 a large ice deposit has been found within the Utopia Planitia region on Mars by the SHARAD instrument on board of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The thickness of the deposit ranges from ...
6
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1answer
334 views

Has an astronaut ever seen pixies, ELVEs, sprites or blue jets (without a camera)?

The NASA Science video ScienceCasts: A Display of Lights Above the Storm shows several examples of Transient Luminous Events (TLEs) (Upper Atmospheric Lightning) being filmed by high-sensitivity ...
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1answer
100 views

What is the science behind the variation of Mars' effective sky temperature with latitude and longitude? Why the “hot spot”?

After reading this interesting answer to the question How cold is the Martian sky at night? Or the day for that matter? I found that Mars Global Reference Atmospheric Model 2001 Version (Mars-GRAM ...
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3answers
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How would one go about proving humans have really been to outer space?

Background: I am 40 years old, and in my entire life the only face to face eyewitness event that I can remember where humans actually observed an attempt to fly into outer space, the craft exploded ...
16
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3answers
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How can an *increase* in atmospheric temperature cause an *increase* in the atmospheric mass density?

We often hear that heating Earth's atmosphere from solar activity or CMEs increases the mass density of the atmosphere at a given altitude, causing orbiting spacecraft to lose altitude faster from ...
7
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1answer
420 views

Can we detect atmosphere on exoplanets?

We are finding new planets in other solar systems all the time. Some of them are in a habitable zone of their sun. Are we able to detect the atmosphere of any exoplanet? Is there any atmospheric ...
19
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1answer
2k views

Air in International Space Station

How do astronauts/cosmonauts manage the atmosphere at the International Space Station as their missions are years long, versus shorter flights? Do they recycle? Import via cargo vessels? Electrolyze ...
12
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2answers
614 views

Do we have instruments that can measure the depth of storms like the Great Red Spot on Jupiter and the Great Dark Spot on Neptune?

I understand if technology isn't quite there yet. If it isn't, is there any research being developed along these lines? I'm trying to wrap my head around the composition of these planets, and the ...
6
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1answer
137 views

How does the sunlight affect the height of the atmosphere?

I was reading this question about how high a Mars balloon could go in the mars atmosphere. How much would the sunlight affect how high the atmosphere reaches? Is the atmosphere on Earth elongated on ...
5
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1answer
1k views

Re-entry Dynamics

I've been reading around a lot and I haven't been able to find any clear explanations. Maybe I'm a bit confused or maybe I am just looking in the wrong places. My question is, what are some basic ...
11
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1answer
258 views

Are there microclimates with better weather conditions on Mars?

On Earth, a microclimate mostly refers to an area which differs from the surrounding areas in temperature or humidity. And what about Mars ? Are there places with atmospheric conditions that are ...
11
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1answer
404 views

Do atmospheric tides have any impact on orbiting satellites or rocket launches?

Wikipedia has an article on atmospheric tides but it is mostly earth based considerations. I was wondering if they have any impact on satellites or rocket launches? We know that satellites in Low ...