Venus has an "electric wind" strong enough to remove the components of water from its upper atmosphere, which may have played a significant role in stripping Earth's twin planet of its oceans, according to new results from the European Space Agency's Venus Express mission by NASA-funded researchers.
"It's amazing, shocking," said Glyn Collinson, a scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland. "We never dreamt an electric wind could be so powerful that it can suck oxygen right out of an atmosphere into space. This is something that has to be on the checklist when we go looking for habitable planets around other stars." Collinson is lead author of a paper about this research published in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.