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An Oxygen World

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Wade Hampton III

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An Oxygen World

PostSun Dec 02, 2018 8:54 pm

We actually HAVE one of those! Though it’s a moon, not a planet.
And it only qualifies because of a loophole.
The Oxygen World
58451.JPG (58.36 KiB) Viewed 399 times

This is Europa. It’s a moon of Jupiter, and is just a bit smaller
than Earth’s moon. The surface made of ice sheets, possibly with
liquid water underneath. Above the ice, the moon is constantly being
hit by deadly radiation (caused by its volcanic neighbor
Io and Jupiter’s titanic magnetic field). Its atmosphere is almost
completely O2. But oxygen gas is very rare to find in the universe,
so where does it come from? While the oxygen gas in Earth’s atmosphere
comes from plants, Europa’s oxygen actually comes from radiation
slicing into the ice, breaking the water into hydrogen and oxygen
gasses (the hydrogen is lost to space).

But you still couldn’t breathe it. Why?

Because the atmosphere of Europa is still very very very very thin.
The air pressure at the surface is about one billionth of that at
Earth’s sea level. It barely qualifies as having an atmosphere at all.
That’s the loophole: it is a world with a 99% oxygen atmosphere, which
is a proportion....NOT how much atmosphere is there in the first place.

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