Was Venus a habitable planet someday?

If you are a fan of astronomy, then you should know that Venus, despite having many similarities to Earth - such as its composition, size and mass, for example - is an incredibly inhospitable world. As explained in a “Venusian” story here at Mega Curioso, its atmosphere is very dense and made up of 96.5% carbon dioxide, which prevents heat from escaping from the surface, causing an extreme greenhouse effect on the planet.

Its atmosphere is also made up of nitrogen, carbon monoxide, helium, argon, sulfur dioxide, and small amounts of water - and these compounds all contribute to Venus having the highest temperatures in the Solar System (around 470 degrees Celsius). In addition, there is no liquid water there, not to mention the more than 1, 600 volcanoes that rock the planet. But have things ever been more ... inviting on Venus?

Habitable past

According to Aviva Rutkin of New Scientist, astronomers at the Tucson, Arizona Institute of Planetary Sciences believe Venus may once have been a habitable planet. According to the researchers, computer-driven simulations revealed that one or two billion years ago the planet was possibly very similar to Earth.

Venus is not what we can call hospitable

To conduct the study, scientists employed a model that is commonly used to study climate change on our planet. Through this tool, they created four versions of Venus - each with slight variations, such as the length of a Venusian day and the amount of heat its surface receives from the Sun daily.

In addition, astronomers have included a shallow ocean on the planet - 10% of the volume of what exists in our world - covering approximately 60% of its surface. Then the researchers ran the simulations to find out how Venus may have evolved over the millennia, and the results indicated that it may have been very much like Earth in its early days and remained habitable for a considerable period of time.

Nothing hospitable ...

One of the simulations even revealed that in one of the four versions of Venus created for the study, temperatures may have been moderate. To top it off, it is possible that this same variant of the planet still had a thick layer of clouds and even small snowstorms. By the way, maybe there was no emergence of any form of life there!

Brother of the Earth

According to astronomers, it is possible that both planets had warm oceans whose waters were in direct contact with rocks and organic molecules - conditions that, as you know, are necessary for the emergence of life forms as we know them.

Look at the duo

Of course, confirming that the simulations are correct is not an easy task and, according to the researchers, it would be great if, in future missions to the planet, it was possible to look for evidence that the water in its liquid form has already run over its surface. . Scientists would also like to run new simulations including other scenarios from Venus's past to perhaps discover how it eventually became the world it is today.

In addition, simulations can also help other astronomers discover exoplanets. After all, if there is a possibility that Venus was habitable someday, it means that other planets orbiting near its stars are also - and that increases the chances that other worlds like ours can be found out there.