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In 1978, NASA’s Pioneer Venus (aka. Pioneer 12) mission reached Venus (“Earth’s Sister”) and found indications that Venus may have once had oceans on its surface. Since then, several missions have been sent to Venus and gathered data on its surface and atmosphere. From this, a picture has emerged of how Venus made the transition from being an “Earth-like” planet to the hot and hellish place it is today.
It all started about 700 million years ago when a massive resurfacing event triggered a runaway Greenhouse Effect that caused Venus’s atmosphere to become incredibly dense and hot. This means that for 2 to 3 billion years after Venus formed, the planet could have maintained a habitable environment. According to a recent study, that would have been long enough for life to have emerged on “Earth’s Sister”.
Study - Yesterday - Sept - Joint - Meeting
The study was presented yesterday (Sept. 20th) at the 2019 Joint Meeting of the European Planetary Science Congress (EPSC-DPS), which took place from Sept. 15th to 20th in Geneva, Switzerland. It was here that Michael Way and Anthony Del Genio of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Science (GISS) shared a new take on Venus’s climatic history, which could have implications in the search for habitable exoplanets.
For the sake of their study, Dr. Way and Dr. Del Genio created a series of five simulations that considered what the environment of Venus would be like based on different levels of water coverage. This consisted of adapting a 3D general circulation model that took into account changing atmospheric compositions and the gradual increase in solar radiation as the Sun became warmer over the course of its lifetime.
Scenarios - Way - Del - Genio - Topography
In three of the five scenarios, Way and Del Genio assumed that the topography of Venus was much as the same as it is today, the ocean ranged from a minimum depth...
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