For the first time, researchers recreated the chemistry of atmospheres of distant planets in their labs. The atmosphere consists of chemical hazes and clouds which influence the surface temperature and the potential for a planet to support life. Scientists believe this work can help guide future studies. The team is now working to analyze the composition of the haze particles the atmospheres have produced.
Dr. Sarah Horst, the lead author of the study, believes her team can learn a lot about how way the Solar System works from doing these experiments. They recreated the atmospheres of nine potential worlds to look at how their atmospheric chemistry functions. Each atmosphere has its own special gas mixture based on hydrogen, water, or carbon dioxide. When and atmosphere was exposed to a cold plasma discharge, the scientists observed a chemical process very similar to the polar lights visible in our Solar System. For over three days, the atmospheres were generating haze particles, which were collected on quartz discs in a reaction chamber. In one case, a hydrogen-rich atmosphere produced an olive green haze.
Jazmin Webb For The Junior Times (firstname.lastname@example.org)
1. What does an atmosphere consist of?
2. How many atmospheres did the scientists create?
3. What color was the haze the hydrogen-rich atmosphere produced?
1. Do you think recreating various atmospheres is a worthwhile idea?
2. Do you think some aliens might not need an atmosphere to live?
3. Do you think it would be more convenient if humans didn't need air to breathe?