A false-color photo of Venus in ultraviolet light taken by Japan’s Akatsuki spacecraft shows textures in the planet’s permanently cloudy atmosphere. Unlike clouds on Earth, which are made of water droplets, those on Venus are mostly sulfuric acid. Jaxa-ISAS-DARTS-Damia-Bouic
Are you kidding? With a surface temperature twice nearly twice as hot as your highest oven setting, clouds composed of battery acid (sulfuric acid) and a toxic carbon dioxide atmosphere bearing down on the planet with a pressure 90 times that of Earth, Mars looks like the promised land in comparison.
The Russian Venera landers took these photos of Venus’s barren, rocky surface and yellow sky in the early 1980s. Reprocessed by Don Mitchell
But science is nothing if full of surprises. An international team of astronomers announced this week the discovery of a rare gas called phosphine in the clouds of Venus. This pyramid-shaped molecule contains three hydrogen atoms bound to a single phosphorus atom and stinks to high heaven. Some describe it as smelling like rotting fish, but I like the more poetic description by this chemistry blogger: “Like rancid gasoline combined with rotten watermelons, with undertones of stale sweat, pig carcass, a hint of garlic, moldy oranges, Russian-made ...