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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4answers
847 views

Is powered descent from orbit a viable method of reentry on bodies with an atmosphere?

Pretty much like the title says. Beyond a simple (one or more) retro burn into unpowered plummeting into the atmosphere, is some form of powered descent a viable method of reentry from orbit on ...
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What are the fast-moving, bright things I saw July 25, 2015 at night?

I am an amateur in space, and I usually read here to better my understanding. I was camping Saturday night (July 25, 2015), and while I was looking at the sky I noticed a bright object moving really ...
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Orbital insertion by rotating shaft

Consider the following idea for inserting a human on the surface of the earth into orbit: In orbit, attach a long (~80km) rigid shaft to a large weight (presumably an asteroid) and set it spinning. ...
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What causes Pluto's atmosphere to recede/collapse?

An answer to this question sparked my curiosity. Pluto's atmosphere seems to come and go depending on its orbital position and distance from the Sun. If the heat up from coming closer to the Sun ...
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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 ...
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Can it be said that Venus is covered by an ocean rather than atmosphere?

At Venusian temperatures and pressures, CO2 becomes supercritical. This means it behaves as a dense liquid yet has no clear upper bound and continuously becomes gas with height. Can we thus say that ...
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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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1answer
128 views

What differences from conventional aerodynamics would result from a thinner atmosphere?

Propulsion modules have been adapted to cope in earth's atmosphere. However what are some of the differences that would have to be taken into account if one was ever to fly in a thicker or thinner ...
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1answer
329 views

What would be the best recipe for a breathable atmosphere in a base on the Moon?

I was reading Why does the ISS atmosphere contain nitrogen, and I wondered if some of the explanations there would also apply to a base on the Moon. There are considerations on the Moon that don't ...
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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 ...
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Is it more challenging to put an airship in the Uranian than in the Venusian atmosphere?

The Soviet Union's (in cooperation with some European governments like France and West Germany) Vega missions put balloons in the atmosphere of Venus back in 1985. It was 30 years ago, the last ...
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Why can't infomation be transmitted during descent?

Apparently, no information could pass through plasma, therefore during descent of spacecraft, no information can be transmitted. Why so?
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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 ...
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1answer
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What are the odds of finding a lifeless planet with breathable air?

As I understand it, our current breathable atmosphere on Earth is the result of early lifeforms transforming huge amounts of CO2 into O2. Before early life, even Earth's atmosphere wasn't livable for ...
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868 views

How do we measure the atmospheres of Solar system planets?

How much is it possible to measure from Earth and how accurately without sending probes to the planets? I am curious about how atmospheric boundary (altitude), atmospheric pressure, scale height were ...
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1answer
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Is it possible to bring “nothing” back from space?

I think the ultimate souvenir would be not a moon rock or a martian, but space "nothing", but I wonder if this is physically possible... Can an astronaut go out to space with an open container, close ...
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1answer
964 views

Can you have a rainbow on any bodies in the solar system besides Earth?

We know from Flying on dense atmosphere planets & moons that many bodies in our solar system have sufficient atmosphere for at least the concept of flying to be considered. What about the ...
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What level of oxygen in a planetary atmosphere would be indicative of life?

Astronomical spectroscopy can be used to determine the chemical composition of far away bodies. In the related question Can we detect atmosphere on exoplanets? we learned that even now we are studying ...
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1answer
247 views

Minimum size meteoroids for meteorites on Earth, Mars, and the Moon?

What approximate size range, considering the different construction and composition, must meteoroids be to become meteorites on Earth, Mars, and the Moon?
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1answer
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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 ...
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What is the barometric formula for a gas giant?

The barometric formula describes the atmospheric pressure depending on height and a host of other things. This formula assumes a constant gravitational acceleration over the whole height of the gas ...
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1answer
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Is there a profile of atmospheric pressure and gravity of Uranus?

One of the intriguing facts about Uranus is that somewhere within the gravity is about 0.9g. Now, if one wants to daydream about living on Uranus in slightly chilly balloons, it would be interesting ...
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359 views

Could increased atmospheric pressure act as a countermeasure for effects of microgravity?

Are there any possibilities to counter the negative effects of low or micro gravity by increasing the atmospheric pressure?
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Depressurization of a habitat on Mars

Wikipedia lists the atmospheric pressure of Mars to be about 600 pascals, or just 0.6% of Earth's atmosphere. I'm wondering, can anyone shed any light on what that means, in practical terms? ...
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165 views

How would critical refractivity of radio waves on Venus be overcome?

Rereading my answer here and in particular, rereading the article Optical and Radio Refraction on Venus (Stratton, 1968) it is my understanding that there is significant refraction of radio waves, as ...
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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?
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Will Pluto's atmosphere collapse prior to New Horizon's visiting it?

It is thought that Pluto's atmosphere will freeze as it moves further from the Sun. We know that Pluto was it's closest to the Sun in the 1990's. Is it known if the atmosphere will freeze prior to New ...
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Approximately how much water does Earth acquire/lose annually from extra-terrestrial sources? [closed]

The approximate volume of water on Earth is 1.338 Billion cu.km Earth regularly intercepts a number of space objects as meteors During the course of their descent through the atmosphere some burn ...