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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How does an atmospheric probe measure temperature during descent?

I heard that the Galileo spacecraft sent Galileo Probe into Jupiter, and it reported temperatures reaching 153 degrees Celsius. The question is, when you send a probe crashing into a planet that has ...
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What would be the challenges for a 50 km long tether to the surface of Venus to get recurrent surface samples there?

Basalt fiber would be an excellent material for a tether in the atmosphere of Venus because it could withstand both the acidity and the high temperature near the surface there. From this answer about ...
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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 ...
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Would potential astronauts on Titan be in danger of being blown away?

Titan (the largest moon of Saturn) has a thicker and denser atmosphere than the Earth and a surface gravity of less than 1/7 that of the Earth. So potential visitors would be very light and what would ...
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Could Mars ocean still be there?

So it’s pretty much agreed that Mars was once a wet planet, and most of the water was lost to space. However, I am unable to see why that is necessarily the case primarily for the same reason that ...
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Apparent temperature Mars

Apparent temperature is the temperature equivalent perceived by humans, caused by the combined effects of air temperature, relative humidity and wind speed. There are several ways of measuring it, ...
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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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What will happen to gas released from the Moon's Surface?

When humans return to the surface of the Moon, there could be many circumstances under which gas is released out, from the pressurized components. Some of the cases are as follows: Gas released from ...
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Does exploration of Venus' atmosphere now require any planetary protection protocols?

This answer quotes Marc Rayman's August 21, 2018 Dawn Journal entry: Not all solar system bodies need such protection. The Moon, Mercury and Venus, for example, have not been of interest for ...
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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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Comparison of Titan to Europa

Why does Titan have an atmosphere denser than that of the Earth? And why does Europa not have even a fraction of Titans atmosphere given that it is not that small as compared to Titan?
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Could metal sulfates stay in the sulfuric acid layer of Venus?

For cyanobacteria metal ions like K+, Mg+ and other essential nutrients like phosphorus are vital for growing and to expand. So they could only thrive in the clouds of Venus if at least metal ions ...
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Is there any application for very low thrust engines within atmosphere?

Is there any (current, or planned, or hypothesized) practical application for engines of low thrust - like, below 40N - in the atmosphere? I'm asking this in relation to the Non-vacuum ion propulsion ...
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What is the most economical way to vaporize the CO₂ deposit near the south pole of Mars?

In April 2011 NASA announced that the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter had found a large, buried deposit of frozen carbon dioxide at the planet's south pole. It has a volume of about 12,000 cubic ...
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Could we fly on the Moon in Xenon?

The Moon is not capable of keeping an Earth like atmosphere, nor is it practical to keep satellites in lunar orbit. Which means all transportation and communication would need to be ground based. No ...
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What effects did the different air pressure and air composition in certain spacecraft have on astronauts?

The Mercury and Gemini spacecraft, and in space the Apollo spacecraft, didn't pressurize their cockpits to 1 atm with Earth-like atmospheric composition; instead, they used pure oxygen at much lower ...
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Will SpaceX vehicles orbit Mars before they enter the atmosphere?

When SpaceX starts sending vehicles to Mars, how will they handle landing on Mars? Will the Starship (Upper Stage, transit vehicle) slow down enough to capture into orbit of Mars before entering the ...
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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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Launching sounding rockets from the magnetic equator (ISRO's Thumba)

The Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station is operated by ISRO for launching sounding rockets because magnetic equator passes through it. Equator gives additional velocity, But what advantage ...
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How long could an Oxygen/Nitrogen atmosphere last on the Moon?

So, if the Moon had an atmosphere, composed of Oxygen and Nitrogen, how long might it last before it all boiled off into space due to the low gravity of the Moon? Or better yet, a Krypton or Xenon ...
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How were Mars' zero elevation datum defined? What are their shapes?

Discussions on Boiling ponds and pools on Mars? led me to Wikipedia's Mars; Geography and naming of surface features which says: Because Mars has no oceans and hence no "sea level", a zero-...
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How does InSight measure wind speed?

According to this answer the weather at the InSight lander can now be seen online at https://mars.nasa.gov/insight/weather/ This includes the wind speed and I believe the direction (if that's what ...
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First sounding rocket to reach the mesosphere?

The mesosphere (the part of the atmosphere above the stratosphere where temperatures increase with altitude) is generally above the altitude reachable by balloon. It begins somewhere around 50 km. ...
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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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Any other advantages to passive atmospheric reentry besides reaction mass economy?

From Vostok 1 to date, atmospheric reentry has been essentially passive. Passive here means that retrorockets are used to de-orbit, and then aerobraking is provided by the atmosphere. In contrast, ...
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Would a spacecraft landing on Io need a heat shield?

Io is Jupiter's only moon with a considerable atmosphere. Its atmosphere is extremely thin (up to 40 nbar) which obviously is too thin to use a parachute. However a spacecraft would maybe need a heat ...
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How does methane waste produced by the ISS interact with our Atmosphere?

The ISS uses a Sabatier reactor to recover oxygen from carbon dioxide. This has an output product of methane. I would imagine that most methane that enters our atmosphere at ground level only reaches ...
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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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What factors determine the altitude at which rocket exhaust plumes start blooming hugely?

The images below are from a much larger set of photos in Spaceflight Now's August 8, 2019 article Photos: Atlas 5 paints the sky with spectacular sunrise launch. They show several effects related to ...
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How would humans with appropriate equipment travel the surface of Saturn's moon Titan on foot?

Taking into account the physical characteristics of Titan (e.g. surface gravity, atmospheric pressure), what would be the most efficient method of motion for an astronaut to travel the surface of ...
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Is really almost all the water in the atmosphere of Venus above the clouds?

In this question about the amount of sulfuric acid in the atmosphere of Venus it is calculated that the amount of water in it's atmosphere is $9.6 \times 10^{15} \text{ kg }$ H$_2$O. In one of the ...
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Does freezing carbon dioxide present a “temperature obstacle” on Mars?

I've noticed that the average low temperature at Gale Crater is -78.5 degrees, curiously the freezing temperature of Mars' atmosphere's main component. Is that more than a coincidence? Perhaps the ...
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Atmospheric scale height, how is it calculated?

Over on SE.Worldbuilding I found myself stuck on figuring what happens to the scale height of an atmosphere if the composition changes (The specific case involved something breathable in place of the ...
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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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GMAT atmosphere

I am using GMAT to propagate satellite motion with Jacchia-Roberts atmosphere model. Here is a formula used from this model which is then used to estimate the variation in drag on a spacecraft due to ...
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Does Juno's UVS have any chance to spot Europa plumes?

JIRAM has recently been proven to be useful to monitor the volcanic activity on Io, from a considerable distance. Europa Clipper will have an ultraviolet spectrograph which be pretty much a copy of ...
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Mars greenhouse accessibility

Let's say a Mars outpost has an inflatable greenhouse. First, it is likely to be high-CO2, as CO2 is easy to acquire and increases plant growth. Second, it may be low-pressure, as plants don't need as ...
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Why is the Aeolus space laser losing power so quickly?

The BBC News article Aeolus: Wind-mapping space laser is losing power says that Europe's Aeolus satellite was launched last year to gather data to improve weather forecasts, and its observations have ...
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Could H₂S₂O₈ (peroxydisulfuric acid), made in the clouds of Venus, be used for making a propellant?

The salts of the peroxydisulfate ion, S$_2$O$_8$$^2$$^-$, are strong oxidants like the perchlorates that are used in propellants for rockets. In this answer on Chemistry stackexchange is a link to a ...
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What is the atmospheric composition of Venus at the 34 mile (50 km) altitude of the proposed HAVOC program?

Various people over the past 60ish years have suggested floating habitats in the high-altitude Venusian atmosphere, as the pressure, gravity, and temperature are comparable to Earth. The premise is ...
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Are the mountains of Venus of any help for us to explore the surface?

The circular orbit and small axial tilt results in no seasons, coupled with the well-known strong greenhouse that makes nights just as hot as days. As pressure gets lower by height, so does ...
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Is the Standard Model of Atmosphere the same as NRLMSISE-00?

I keep reading about the standard atmosphere being a static model and related to the 1976 US standard model. The NRLMSISE seems like an atmospheric model, but I'm unsure if its an extension of the ...
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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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Why are there no methane detectors with “the mole” of the Insight lander?

A possible geophysical source of methane on Mars could be ancient methane trapped in clathrate hydrates in the subsurface that may be released occasionally. In a not secured (!) article of ESA about ...
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Can plants thrive without atmospheric nitrogen?

One of deficit resources on Mars is nitrogen. There's a plenty of carbon dioxide, and a modest amount of water. There's a deficit of nitrogen, but AFAIK plants use nitrogen in compounds found in soil, ...
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How long would a blimp last in Venusian atmosphere at an altitude of 65 km?

It would be the same blimp on Earth, except with some modifications like anti-corrosion coating. The blimp will use helium as the gas to keep it aloft. Would it last long enough to be useful?
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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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How could a transmission be relayed wirelessly from the bottom of Europa ocean to Earth?

Answers to Do you need a “wire” on a Europa submarine to phone home? are generally yes, but a wire is cumbersome and dramatically limits range, If a rover was sent to the bottom of Europa's Ocean ...
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Mars' atmosphere and the triple point of water

As I understand it, the average atmospheric pressure at the surface of Mars is close to the triple point of water. Is this a coincidence or does water have some sort of controlling effect on Mars' ...
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How is atmospheric temperature measured from a satellite?

How does an Earth observing satellite measure the temperature of the atmosphere? Can they measure temperature at multiple altitudes, or measure the temperature of clouds?