Oxygen detected in Venus’ hellish atmosphere

Venus’ atmosphere is notoriously hellish. Its air is corrosive and hot enough to melt lead. Its billowing clouds are poisonous to humans. Sometimes, it rains acid. But researchers just discovered that, sandwiched between layers of toxic gas, this inhospitable atmosphere contains a thin layer of molecular oxygen.

Historically, Venus has received far less scientific attention than Earth’s other neighbor, Mars. Recent reports that the organic compound phosphine may (or may not) exist in the Venusian clouds, however, have sparked new interest in studying the planet.

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