This answer on Space Exploration to a question about Mars says that one reason Mars has such a thin atmosphere is because it lacks a magnetic field to protect it from the effect of double solar winds.

Here MBR explains that Venus does not have a magnetic field.


Image credit: ESA

If this is the case, then why has Venus's atmosphere not been stripped away by solar wind like that of Mars?


2 Answers 2


Venus has a strong ionosphere that protects it against violent solar winds. So, even though Venus has no intrisic magnetic field, it has an effective, induced magnetic field due to the interaction between the solar winds and the atmosphere, that protects it against solar winds.

Venus atmosphere is thick enough to have a consequent ionosphere, that would be the difference between Mars and Venus (and Venus was able to keep a thicker atmosphere due to its greater mass, contrary to Mars).


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    $\begingroup$ I believe I read somewhere that the character of Venus's atmosphere has been changed over the eons. Water in the atmosphere was split into separate hydrogen and oxygen atoms, with the hydrogen being blown into space by the solar winds. This makes Venus not only hot, but dry. I wonder if Earth might have benefited by capturing some of the hydrogen and matching it up with free oxygen in our atmosphere. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 19, 2016 at 23:27

A major factor, is that Venus' volcanoes are still active. Mars's died millions of years ago. If they were still erupting, then Mars' atmosphere would be much thicker today.

Edit: This may actually be true as referenced by a paper published July 20 2020 cited below.

Gülcher, A.J.P., Gerya, T.V., Montési, L.G.J. et al. Corona structures driven by plume–lithosphere interactions and evidence for ongoing plume activity on Venus. Nat. Geosci. (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41561-020-0606-1

Also see in Phys.org:

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    $\begingroup$ Sounds about right, but can you expand this answer a little? Now it is more of a comment. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 4:07
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    $\begingroup$ Still, it's a pretty cool comment! :) $\endgroup$
    – Fattie
    Commented Oct 24, 2016 at 10:07
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    $\begingroup$ Downvote: This is not known. There are indications that the surface might be young (~30 million yrs) but except for counting of large craters there is no data available on the age of the surface. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 10, 2018 at 19:12
  • $\begingroup$ @AtmosphericPrisonEscape, data is available, in the form of changes between the three Magellan mapping passes. $\endgroup$
    – Mark
    Commented May 16 at 2:57

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