Scientists consider they’ve been able to simulate the atmospheres of other planets here on Earth. Johns Hopkins University assistant professor Dr. Sarah Horst let the team of researchers who created the alien atmospheres, and they published their findings in the journal Nature Astronomy. They hope to learn more about the solar system and the way planets work by investigating how atmospheric particles form through the haze they created.
The Johns Hopkins team explained in a post published on Futurity that they use telescopes to discover the types of gases that make up the atmospheres of distant exoplanets orbiting other stars. However, currently, the telescopes in existence don’t provide clear enough readings for the atmospheres of exoplanets which have a lot of haze in them.
The problem is that murk is made up of solid particles floating inside of gases found in alien atmospheres. These particles change how the gas behaves in relation to light, which makes it difficult for scientists to detect the make-up of the gas. They also believe that having a deeper understanding of the atmospheres on other planets can help them as they search for alien life. Dr. Horst believes they can discern which of them have more haze than others by simulating the atmospheres found on exoplanets. Exoplanets are generally between Earth and Neptune in terms of size.
The researchers used hydrogen, water vapor, and carbon dioxide as the main gases mixed with helium, nitrogen, methane and carbon monoxide in various amounts at three different temperature sets. Then they modeled nine other envelopes of gases using these compositions. After modeling them in the computer, the researchers set about actually simulating them by mixing them together inside a chamber and then heating them up.
They will be conducting further analysis on the make-up of the haze they simulated in the lab, Dr. Horst told the BBC. She said they’re looking forward to learning about “where particles form, what they’re made out of, and what that means for organic inventories for the origin of life.”