Imagine skiing on the snow-capped mountains of Venus! The only problem? The snow is made of metal...
Venus is a very interesting planet in our solar system.
It is surrounded in thick layers of cloud, 50km thick. Over 96% of the atmosphere of Venus is carbon dioxide, which causes massive pressure on the surface and has quite a strange effect on the planet’s gas.
On the lower surfaces of Venus, temperatures reach up to 480°C, causing the minerals on the surface to vaporize, entering the atmosphere as a kind of metallic mist.
At the higher altitudes, this mist condenses and forms a type of metallic frost which settles on the mountain tops. It is unknown whether snow actually falls on Venus, but acid rains have been observed – rain that evaporates before it hits the ground.
This “snow” that we see on Venus can be observed anywhere over the altitude of about 2.6km. Below that altitude, the atmosphere is no longer a gas. Nearer the surface, the high pressure and temperatures cause the carbon dioxide to become a supercritical fluid, which is between a liquid and a gas.
As expected, the surface of Venus is extremely toxic and while the snow-like metal we have observed on the mountain tops provides a stunning sight. Perhaps only in your wildest sci-fi dream could you hope to carve up these mountains on your snowboard.