Why the James Webb Space Telescope is Searching for a ‘Second Venus’ [아하! 우주]

The evolution of Venus and the Earth. Photo courtesy of O’Rourke, JG, Wilson, CF, Borrelli, ME et al.

The James Webb Space Telescope is writing new history in astronomy with a powerful observational performance that was impossible with other telescopes in the past. However, it is still in the early stages of the mission, and there are many more celestial bodies to be seen than those seen so far. As it is a telescope that many scientists around the world want to use, the scientific community competes fiercely to be placed first.

However, scientists from the University of California, Riverside Campus, somewhat irregularly, presented a research goal of finding a second Venus, not Earth. Of course, the research team also presented a reason to find a second Venus using the most expensive telescope in history. Among the rocky Earth-sized planets, we need to find out which is the more common case, Earth or Venus.

Venus is slightly smaller than Earth, making it the closest sibling planet in the solar system. However, the face environment of the two brothers is 180 degrees different. Although Earth has a temperature suitable for life and an environment rich in liquid water, Venus has a hot surface temperature of 464 degrees Celsius and a high-pressure environment that is over 90 times Earth’s atmospheric pressure, so it cannot any life survive. But until now, it is not known which is the most common cause, or if both are extreme cases.

The research team identified five exoplanets (TOI-2285 b, LTT 1445 A c, TOI-2285 b, LTT 1445 A c, TOI-2285 b, LTT 1445 Ac c, TOI- 1266 c, LHS 1140 c, L98–59 d ). As a result of these observations, if cases like Venus are common, many exoplanets similar in size to Earth may be in an environment where life cannot live.

▲ An imaginary image of the James Webb Space Telescope being examined

Of course, conversely, if the environment of the Venus Zone, where Venus-like planets are expected to exist, is actually Earth-like, the possibility of extraterrestrial life increases that much. Of course, even with the powerful observations of the James Webb Space Telescope, it is difficult to accurately measure the atmospheric composition and surface temperature of distant exoplanets. However, the observational performance of the James Webb Space Telescope and advanced analysis techniques have led to the discovery of some rocky exoplanets, according to Stephen Kane, a scientist who first proposed the concept of Venus zones in 2014 and co-author of a published paper. in the Astrophysical Journal. It is believed that it is possible to find out if it has an atmosphere, as well as finding out what materials it is made of.

In fact, in order to know the habitable zone where life can exist, we first have to find out the zone where uninhabited planets like Venus can exist. The research team presented a second Venus on the list as a target for observation by the James Webb Space Telescope in 2024. These observations will reveal whether Venus is very unique to the solar system or more common than thought in the universe.

Gordon Jung Science Columnist