JAXA Akatsuki Probe Explained The Venus Atmosphere’s Super-Rotation

venus atmosphere

Launched in May 2010 to investigate Venus’ atmosphere, Japanese spacecraft Akatsuki brought some important savvy about its peculiar habit. The Venusian atmosphere suffers from what is called a super-rotation.

The atmospheric super-rotation is a condition of the atmosphere that makes it rotate faster than the actual planet. Earth’s atmosphere has a very mild stage of super-rotation but scientists warn that in time, global warming will worsen the condition. Possible super-rotation of surface winds is to be expected if we don’t stop doing what we’re doing that speed up the planet’s warming process.

Getting back to Venus, the winds in the upper atmosphere move up to 60 times faster than the solid surface. But, oddly enough, once you get on the surface of the planet, the wind is barely a breeze moving at 10 kilometers per hour.

The Venus Atmosphere’s Super-Rotation Has A Reason, Identified By JAXA Akatsuki Probe

The planet rotates at 6 km/h at the equator while the atmosphere spins around the planet at 300 km/h. It must feel pretty windy on Venus. This system is what made the Japanese launch Akatsuki in the first place. It was also the first exploratory mission they ever launched.

Akatsuki seems to have found the reason why and points fingers at thermal tides. Thermal tides are, well, tides that have something to do with the way the sun heats and cools the atmosphere of Venus. The natural day-night process causes the tides that cause the super-rotation.

With the temperatures of 467 °C (872 °F) and the sulfuric acid clouds, no man will get there too soon, so scientists will have to trust spacecraft such as Akatsuki. The trust can increase knowing that Akatsuki is also the name of a manga group of subversives or criminals that seek to make the world a better place. Sort of a Robin Hood.

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