Rotating Question Curious About Astronomy? Ask an Astronomer

Is there oxygen in the atmospheres of other planets?

I was just curious....do the gas giant planets (Neptune, Uranus, Jupiter and Saturn) have at least a thin band of oxygen in the atmosphere which would make it possible to live in the sky???? (floating cities)

There is only one planet where gaseous oxygen is found: Earth! And the only reason that Earth has oxygen is because Earth has plants that do photosynthesis. There is no other natural process that we know of that will put significant amounts of oxygen into a planet's atmosphere.

So that is bad news if you'd like to live on another planet in our Solar System. However, it does mean that if we ever find a planet around another star that has oxygen in its atmosphere, we can be fairly confident that there is life of some kind on that planet.

August 2005, Britt Scharringhausen (more by Britt Scharringhausen) (Like this Answer)

Still Curious?

Get More 'Curious?' with Our New PODCAST:

More questions about Planets: Previous | Next

More questions about Space Exploration and Astronauts: Previous | Next

More questions about SETI and Extraterrestrial Life: Previous | Next

How to ask a question:

If you have a follow-up question concerning the above subject, submit it here. If you have a question about another area of astronomy, find the topic you're interested in from the archive on our site menu, or go here for help.

Table 'curious.Referrers' doesn't existTable 'curious.Referrers' doesn't exist

URL: http://curious.astro.cornell.edu/question.php?number=677
This page has been accessed 26474 times since August 30, 2005.
Last modified: August 30, 2005 10:44:26 AM

Legal questions? See our copyright, disclaimer and privacy policy.
Ask an Astronomer is hosted by the Astronomy Department at Cornell University and is produced with PHP and MySQL.

Warning: Your browser is misbehaving! This page might look ugly. (Details)