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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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2k views

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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231 views

How do flags behave on the Moon?

I have seen many theories and question/answers on this site touching upon this subject but no focused question. So I would like to ask this as a two part question. Is what we saw in the Lunar ...
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143 views

What effects does atmosphere have on solar panels?

For the purpose of this question I do not want to focus simply on the fact that there will be less "night time" for the panels while in orbit/outside the atmosphere of a planet. What I'd like to ...
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1answer
339 views

Could the Moon be terraformed by outgassing its oxygen?

The majority of the Moon's mass is oxygen. With energy it could chemically be liberated from its silicon et cetera compounds and be turned into oxygen gas. Given its low gravity, lack of magnetosphere ...
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175 views

Is there a way to achieve any kind of atmospheric flight on the moon Europa?

I've been searching all over the site and the internet, but I can't find something about it. Is there really no way for a plane, helicopter or quad-copter to fly on the moon Europa? If it is possible,...
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535 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 ...
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1answer
50 views

Alternatives to an ozone layer

Our home planet earth has low concentration of ozone in its atmosphere, protecting it from UV radiation, could Exoplanets share the same method but have a different gas in the atmosphere which has a ...
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0answers
70 views

Can something float on top of the atmosphere? [duplicate]

So this is more of a thought experiment similar to the idea of a space elevator, but bear with me... Can we put something that "floats" on top of the atmosphere? A few ideas A pressure regulating ...
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41 views

How does the color of the atmosphere differ on Mars? Does the sky during sunset on Mars look just like midday?

Higher frequency light wavelengths (blue) absorb more in our atmosphere. At sunset, light must travel farther to reach the observer, so more blue light is scattered and the sun/sky appears orange and ...
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3answers
487 views

Could a terrestrial planet with a hydrogen atmosphere be habitable?

Many exoplanets, even small ones, have densities so low that it indicates that they have hydrogen atmospheres. Is a hydrogen gas atmosphere of a terrestrial planet somehow detrimental to biology as we ...
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830 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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2answers
310 views

Flying in Thin Atmosphere [closed]

How thin could at atmosphere be before it could not be flown in using a modern plane? Does speed affect this to a reasonable degree?
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189 views

How long can a high altitude balloon fly before a meteor hits it?

The balloon has a lighter than air gas in it. It flies at 30 km above sea level. It is spherical, with a radius not exceeding five hundred meters. How long can it fly before a meteor pokes a hole in ...
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453 views

What is the terminal velocity on Mars?

How would I calculate the terminal velocity of Mars? What is the terminal velocity of a balloon entering Mars' atmosphere? Would a balloon pop if dropped from space?
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1answer
283 views

Could a shuttle be built for Mars?

Mars does have an atmosphere, but is there enough atmosphere to glide, shed speed and land if there was a runway? What would this require from the shuttle, in terms of aerodynamics?
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1answer
180 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 ...
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75 views

Would snow fall on the surface of Mars because of uncovering the ice deposit in Utopia Planitia?

In 2016 a large ice deposit was 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 about 80 ...
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277 views

What are the temperature and pressure inside the CO$_2$ deposit on Mars?

Within the CO$_2$ deposit near the south pole on Mars, according to this article 3 subunits have been found with one having a top CO$_2$ layer of about 300 meters thick covered by a water ice layer ...
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93 views

Is there a known way a nuclear heating device could move around in the CO$_2$ deposit on Mars? [closed]

What would be an easier way to start terraforming Mars than evaporizing the CO$_2$ deposit near the south pole ? An autonomous nuclear heating device of about 1000 kg for instance, that landed on ...
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43 views

Concentration of gases in an atmosphere

this question made me think what type of technique is used to get concentration of gases on planets? One can get the composition using spectrometry but is there anyway to tell concentration of each ...
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3answers
372 views

How much efficiency is lost from a fixed De Laval nozzle when modified for atmospheric use?

Fixed nozzles designed for vacuum are larger/broader than those designed for atmospheric or combined air/space use, which have less flanged nozzles due to the drag a larger flange would incur in the ...
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1answer
246 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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154 views

What are the ranges a human can survive AND breathe in?

I am writing a space sci-fi short story series, and I am trying to figure out what the range in pressure a human can survive AND breathe. I am trying to find the lowest, safest air pressure a human ...
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120 views

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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55 views

Would a liquid propellant fire in Mars' atmosphere cause charring?

If a ship carrying liquid propellant crashed on the surface of Mars, rupturing all tanks, I assume the propellant could ignite. If the propellant did ignite might it leave indications of charring on ...
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121 views

How does Mars have a Bow Shock and proton aurora? What is a hydrogen corona?

I just saw the NASA video Mars Proton Aurora below and I'm confused, (which by itself is unremarkable). Without a planetary magnetic field, what force produces a bow shock in the solar wind at Mars, ...
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169 views

Where are we in the current effort to make mars habitable? [closed]

I feel like this should be a massive effort put forth by all countries. As a civilization, our population is growing at a break-neck rate. Not only would it be a fail-safe should something happen to ...
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33 views

Looking for atmospheric density models of various planets and moons

Looking for atmospheric density models of various planets and moons, any sort of data/resources/database of this information would be extremely useful as I am working on recreating these models for ...
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58 views

Building a Drag model for rocket optimization

I need to build a drag model for my rocket optimization program and I stumbled upon by the following formula: $CD = CD_c(M)$, $K_n < K_{nc}$, $CD = CD_{fm}$, $K_n > K_{nf}$, $CD = CD_c +(CD_{...
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90 views

Range of atmospheric pressure and composition for plant survival?

I am currently working on a college senior design team that is looking at developing a small modular habitat that could sustain plant growth. These small modules would not include humans, so we only ...
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0answers
1k views

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 ...
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3answers
21k views

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 ...
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1answer
122 views

Rainbow Space Probe?

Can a probe be sent out to shine a white laser through the atmosphere of a planet to measure a rainbow spectrum to determine composition, temperature, density etc.? Water drops refracts about at a ...
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2answers
137 views

Can carbon dioxide be distilled from a Helium/Oxygen atmosphere by using natural refrigeration?

A simple air compressor compress carbon dioxide/water saturated helium/oxygen air in a tank to liquefy water from the air by pressure. Abstract the water, then refrigerate the carbon dioxide/helium/...
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2answers
324 views

Atmosphere on the Moon

Question: How would you make a breathable atmosphere in an artificial closure on the Moon? I originally thought that simply obtaining water from the Moon, sending an electrical current through it to ...
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1answer
109 views

Could H$_2$S$_2$O$_8$ (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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761 views

Does a planet need an ozone layer to maintain an atmosphere?

Is it possible to build an atmosphere on Mars without an ozone layer? What would trap the gas? Also what is an ozone layer made of?
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3answers
190 views

Is the night sky on Earth different from the night sky on the moon or Mars?

If colonists or space-tourists spend time on the Moon or on Mars long enough to have a chance to take a good look at the nighttime sky, will they be able to see stars and the Milky Way? Will they ...
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1answer
139 views

Heat Shielding Material for Reusable Craft

I'm a bit new to all this and have a quick question about heat shielding. My research tells me that for reusable craft (i.e. Space Shuttles) they used to use a plastic-based shields that would burn ...
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1answer
145 views

What would happen if air hitting heatshield was ignited?

During Earth's atmospheric entry of an Apollo-like capsule, what would happen if oxygen hitting heatshield was mixed with fuel injected through heatshield, and ignited? Edit & addendum : During ...
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1answer
104 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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1answer
478 views

What is the procedure when a spacesuit gets a tear in it? [duplicate]

What do you do if you are in space and you get a rip in your spacesuit other than getting right with God? What if you cannot get back to base in time?
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1answer
162 views

Space Station in atmosphere with continuous reboosting to preserve orbit

I recently watched the series Altered Carbon. In that series, they showed a floating space station called "Head in the Clouds". There is a blue sky here, even clouds. This would imply a height of &...
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1answer
104 views

What is the meaning of twelve months for climate at Gale Crater, Mars?

I noticed that Wikipedia lists the climate on Gale Crater per “month”: Source: Wikipedia. None of the sources listed contain the information included in the table. I find it particularly puzzling ...
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1answer
195 views

Smallest planet where human type life could evolve and survive?

Most exoplanets making the news are larger than Earth. I wonder about the smaller worlds, how small is too small? Reword to keep the question narrow enough to be answerable. When the Earth was ...
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1answer
98 views

Martian atmosphere's effect on radiation?

The atmosphere of Mars protects it's surface from micrometeorites. How significantly does the Martian atmosphere reduce radiation in comparison with, for example, the Moon's surface or open space?
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1answer
87 views

Is it possible to force atmosphere onto a non atmospheric planet?

If you had some way of injecting large masses of gas into a small planets gravitational field, would it form an atmosphere? You would have to pump it at an extreme rate but would it still work if the ...
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1answer
107 views

What was the exact nature of the observations of “solar flare activity” that delayed the launch of Vostok 5?

The interesting story of Vostok 5 recounted in Encyclopedia Astronautica's Vostok 5 (linked in comments below this answer) includes the following passage: Vostok 5 was originally planned to go for ...
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1answer
145 views

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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103 views

Could not silica aerogel dramatically increase the atmospheric pressure on Mars?

In the NASA article Want to Colonize Mars ? Aerogel Could Help a study about the potential of aerogel as a building material on Mars is reviewed. In an experiment 2-3 centimeters of silica aerogel ...