Psst, Venus. What's up with those holes in your atmosphere?
September 12, 2014 8:42 AM   Subscribe

I'm always chasing rainbows
posted by Iridic at 8:45 AM on September 12, 2014

Express and Curiosity are both reporting everything's alright tonight.
posted by davebush at 9:03 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

Oh, I am really excited about this. Venus is so fascinating and beautiful and complex and there's so much to learn there.
posted by Wolfdog at 9:17 AM on September 12, 2014

Awesome post. Those diving maneuvers into the atmosphere are freaking cool! Fuck yeah, orbital dynamics! While I previously knew that Venus counter-rotated (compared to the Earth), I never knew that Venus' day was longer than it's year, or that it has no magnetic field. More weirdness to add to a fascinating planet. I'm still holding out for colonizing Venus via floating cities, exploiting the density of the atmosphere.

Oh, and Glynn Collinson, the scientist who talks about the magnetic "holes" in the last link, looks like the smartest high-school kid I've ever seen. Jesus. Talk about making me feel old.
posted by mondo dentro at 9:25 AM on September 12, 2014 [2 favorites]

He also has - although not as badly as some people do - the habit of interpolating "sort of" all over the place. I generally associate this with British speakers, but if you take American students to a conference where they hear someone speaking with this tic, they pick it up like plague.

I actually have a pad sitting on my desk right now with notes from a number theory talk that I went to where I got bored with the talk and just started transcribing "sort ofs". "want to sort of specialize", "to sort of list examples", "is sort of how many solutions", "sort of motivates this definition", "this theorem sort of tells you", "there are sort of two possibilities", "there are sort of four cases", "get some sort of multiples of four", "don't have any common sort of prime factors", "look at the sort of beginning of the proof", "published this sort of book together with", "Andrew Wiles sort of found", "the thing that sort of number theorists are sort of interested in", "I haven't sort of been very explicit", "sort of a generalization of 𝕫", "Galois group of the sort of infinite extension", "was sort of explicit computations", "we define a probability sort of distribution", "a sort of tour de force" and the list goes on and on. From one talk.
posted by Wolfdog at 9:35 AM on September 12, 2014

I'm feeling sort of semantically satiated.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:40 AM on September 12, 2014

And now I'm all out of sorts.
posted by joecacti at 9:50 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

It's sort of the sort of thing that sort of appalls the sort of people who sort of hate that sort of thing.
posted by jamjam at 10:05 AM on September 12, 2014

I'm feeling sort of semantically satiated.

Really hit me by the end of jamjam's sentence.

Are there any planned NASA missions to Venus?
posted by stinkfoot at 10:22 AM on September 12, 2014

There are no planned NASA missions to Venus. India and Russia are considering probes, with India's reaching Venus by the middle of 2015, but that hasn't launched yet and I don't know its status. Japan and the ESA are sending a spacecraft called BepiColombo to Mercury, which will do a flyby of Venus in 2019.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:57 AM on September 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

It's interesting that everyone seems to agree that Venus has no magnetic field, because even if the solid iron core is above the ~1000K Curie temperature (ruling out 'permanent' magnetism) wouldn't we expect the Sun's magnetic field to induce a field in the iron core? And in that case we could see the two "holes" as an extension and compression of that magnetic field by the charged particles of the solar wind?

Or maybe that's just a restatement of the second possibility outlined in the last link.
posted by jamjam at 11:06 AM on September 12, 2014

I think he's really trying to tell everybody to sod off.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 11:11 AM on September 12, 2014

Here's ESA's homepage, btw: Venus Express. The bit about snow on Venus was news to me (doesn't look that great for a ski trip, though).

Wikipedia says the mission has been extended to 2015, but I think that's old information; according to the July update, they don't have much fuel left after the aerobraking adventures, so when it hits the atmosphere the next time in December, it's the end of the ride.
posted by effbot at 11:58 AM on September 12, 2014

Mysterious UV absorbing substances in the atmosphere and strange holes in the ionosphere on the night side. Venus just gets more interesting the more we look at it.
posted by Kevin Street at 2:33 PM on September 12, 2014

Great post, thanks for sharing!

For anyone interested in visiting Venus from a rocket design/space exploration point of view, there is an excellent boardgame called High Frontier which will fulfill that need (actually designed by a NASA rocket scientist).
posted by Vindaloo at 8:58 AM on September 13, 2014 [2 favorites]

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