On July 11, 2020, the Parker solar probe flew past Venus for the third time. Each flight is needed in order to
One of the instruments of the Parker solar probe is FIELDS: the instrument detected a natural low-frequency radio signal that was not previously attributed to the activity of the planet.
Like Earth, Venus has an electrically chargeda layer of gas at the top edge of its atmosphere called the ionosphere. These are charged gases or plasma that emits radio waves: they can be detected by instruments such as FIELDS.
When Glyn Collison from the Space Flight Centernamed Goddard NASA in Greenbelt, Maryland, and his team identified this signal, they realized that the Parker solar probe had penetrated the upper atmosphere of Venus.
Understanding why the ionosphere of Venusthinning near the solar minimum is part of the puzzle of how Venus reacts to the sun. The answers to these questions will help researchers determine how Venus, once so similar to Earth, became lifeless and toxic.
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