Parker Solar Probe intercepts radio signals from Venus' atmosphere

NASA's Parker Solar Probe has intercepted a set of radio signals from the atmosphere of Venus. NASA says studying the electrical radiation signals will help scientists understand how the planet's atmosphere is changing.

Since its launch, the Parker Solar Probe has completed several recent flybys. During its last flyby of Venus' orbit, the Parker Solar Probe came within 833 km of Venus' surface at its closest point and sent back new images of the planet, the source said.

Scientists believe the Parker Solar Probe is likely to pass through Venus's upper atmosphere, picking up a set of low-frequency radio signals from the planet's atmosphere in the process. NASA astronomers believe the radio signals are naturally occurring in their shape and strength, possibly coming from the ionosphere of Venus's atmosphere.

According to the analysis, planets with atmospheres in the solar system usually have an ionosphere around them, which can bounce off radio signals sent from the ground and then be picked up by another device to complete the communication process. The Vanguard probe, launched in 1992, discovered the existence of the ionosphere of Venus. This phenomenon shows that Venus was once an Earth-like planet, but now the ionosphere is thinning, Venus's atmosphere is escaping into space, and the overall atmospheric environment is changing.

According to Baidu Baike, Venus is an Earth-like planet similar to Earth and is often referred to as Earth's sister planet. Venus has a thick atmosphere with 96 percent carbon dioxide and a landmark atmospheric pressure 92 times that of Earth. Its surface temperature is 462°C, but its topography, with its distinctive distribution of ancient river beds, peaks and craters, proves that Venus was once a habitable planet like Earth two billion years ago. In 2020, scientists detected phosphine in the atmosphere of Venus, which could be a sign of extraterrestrial life. But the planet is now clearly inhospitable, and it is unclear whether this change is related to the escape of the atmosphere caused by the thinning ionosphere.

The Parker Solar Probe is not looking at Venus, and a Venus probe will be needed to figure out how the radio signals are generated, NASA said. Venus is the most active planet in the solar system after Earth, and it's not surprising that in such extreme conditions, where superhurricanes sweep across the planet's surface all year round, radio signals would be generated inside Venus.