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Was Venus once a temperate planet covered in water?



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Introducing the artist Venus with water. NASA

Sounds strange, but according to new research, the flaming planet of Venus could once be habitable. The average surface temperature of Venus today is 863 degrees Fahrenheit (462 degrees Celsius), but a study presented at the EPSC-DPS 201

9 Joint Meeting (European Planetary Science Congress and Planetary Science Division of the American Astronomical Society) says millions of years ago, the planet may be a temperate place with liquid water on its surface.

Studies indicate that Venus could have existed in this temperate state for 2 to 3 billion years, until a major transformation began 700 million years ago. "Our hypothesis is that Venus may have had a stable climate for billions of years," says author Michael Way of the Godard Institute for Space Sciences in a statement. "It is possible that the global resurrection event may be responsible for its transformation from a Earth-like climate to the hellish hot house we see today."

The study is based on computer simulations of what kind of water cover in the past would lead to the conditions we see on Venus today. The models needed to take into account the fact that the radiation from the sun increases over time as the star gets hotter. "At the moment, Venus has almost twice the amount of solar radiation we have on Earth," Wei explained. "However, in all the scenarios we have modeled, we have found that Venus can still maintain surface temperatures subject to liquid water."

One big problem this study raises is what could happen, to transform Venus from a hospitable planet to a scorched rock is today. Like Mars, it is suggested that changes in Venus temperatures are due to changes in its atmosphere. "Something happened on Venus, where a huge amount of gas released into the atmosphere and couldn't be swallowed up again by the rocks," says Way. "On Earth, we have some examples of large-scale extinction, such as the creation of the Siberian traps 500 million years ago, which is associated with mass extinction, but nothing on this scale. It completely transforms Venus. ”

The traditional view of scientists is that Venus is outside the habitable zone, but this study challenges this. "We need more missions to study Venus and understand its history and evolution in more detail," says Wei. "However, our models show that there is a real possibility that Venus was habitable and radically different from the Venus we see today. This opens up all kinds of consequences for exoplanets in the so-called. A "Venus zone" that can actually absorb liquid water and a temperate climate. "

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