Astronomers these days are busy searching for life on other planets of the universe. They search for the environment and the necessary elements for establishing a habitat for Homo sapiens. After mars, it’s Venus this time that has shown a green signal. Surprisingly it isn’t NASA but the Venus Express spacecraft of ‘the European Space Agency’ who has found it.
The signal is actually the presence of Ozone layer similar to that surrounding our mother Earth and Mars already. It is a layer of Ozone (O3) surrounding the earth which absorbs harmful ultraviolet rays coming from the sun. It bears quite a lot importance in the presence of life on earth. In fact, it is thought to have been brought into being by the life itself.
The discovery was made while watching the stars around the planet i.e. Venus. The star length was analyzed and the tracks of the Ozone were found as certain wavelengths of the light were absorbed by it. SPICAV (Spectroscopy for Investigation of Characteristics of the Atmosphere of Venus) one of the very famous instruments of ESA was used for this observation. Computer models tell that formation of Ozone on Venus is due to decomposition of carbon dioxide molecules releasing Oxygen atoms. The atoms are then flounced around by winds resulting into their combination of two (O2 molecules) or sometimes three (O3 Ozone molecules).
Scientists are of the opinion that this new discovery has set some new constraints on the study of chemistry of Venus. It provides new aspects for comparing life on Earth and other planets.
Astrobiology’s principles consider the presence of Oxygen, carbon dioxide and Ozone to be crucial for life on any planet. Disposal of these elements determine the possibility of life.
The new discovery has provided the astrologists with a new approach to search for the traces of life on other planets. The telescopes will now be focused on the light of stars around the planetary bodies.
It’s not just the presence; in fact the amount of Ozone has its own importance. The layer found in Martian atmosphere did not come into being with life itself. It does not owe its existence to biological means, rather; it is an outcome of sunlight decomposing carbon dioxide molecules. Moreover, the layer is thousand times less dense than that of its earth’s counterpart and lies at a distance four time higher than the latter.
Venus cannot still be considered a second home since it does not come up to the criteria of having ozone concentration, at least twenty percent of that around earth. Only then the Ozone can be considered to have sprout from life.
Well, even if it doesn’t proves the presence of life on Venus, the detection of Ozone brings the planet closer to earth and Mars in its characteristics.
ESA Project scientist for Venus Express mission Håkan Svedhem claimed that the discovery helped in understanding circulation and chemistry of Venus atmosphere.
The discovery has dignified the status of Venus in the study of rocky planets i.e. (Mars, Earth and Venus itself) and the similarities among them.