Scientists have just found out something about Venus that could totally change how we understand our nearest neighbor.
It’s a huge discovery that is sure to change our opinions about the desolate, hostile planet that is Venus — our closest neighbor. Scientists believe that although today there is a crushing atmosphere and extreme temperatures that would eliminate the possibility of life, billions of years ago the planet could have actually been quite survivable — even comfortable.
Temperatures today reach 462 degrees Celsius, and the atmosphere is 90 times thicker than ours, so there’s no way anything could live there long. But the planet may have had 2 billion years worth of relative habitability at one time in its past, according to computer simulations by scientists, a NASA statement reads.
Scientists believe that Venus once had a shallow liquid water ocean and temperatures that were relatively mild, based on the same sort of models used to predict future climate change on Earth.
“Many of the same tools we use to model climate change on Earth can be adapted to study climates on other planets, both past and present,” said Michael Way, a researcher at GISS and the paper’s lead author. “These results show ancient Venus may have been a very different place than it is today.”