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Wind hitting Venus’s mountains makes the planet rotate faster

In addition to making Venus notoriously inhospitable to rover missions, the planet’s thick atmosphere and the speed at which it moves may accelerate Venus’s rotation, Science News reports. Venus makes a full rotation once every 243 Earth days, but its atmosphere circles the planet in just under 100 hours. When the atmosphere—traveling at 100 meters per second—hits mountains on Venus’s surface, it seems to create enough push and pull to alter the planet’s rotation, accelerating it by about 2 minutes per day, researchers report this week in Nature Geoscience. Scientists made the new discovery while investigating a 10,000-kilometer-long wave in Venus’s cloud tops that seems to derive from the same constant atmospheric motion.

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