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NASA: "The Death of a Planet" --Venus Had an Ocean and Habitable Surface Temperatures for Two Billion Years (VIDEO)



“These results show ancient Venus may have been a very different place than it is today,” siad Michael Way, a researcher at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York. Venus today is a hellish world. It has a crushing carbon dioxide atmosphere 90 times as thick as Earth’s. There is almost no water vapor. Temperatures reach 864 degrees Fahrenheit (462 degrees Celsius) at its surface.

Venus may have had a shallow liquid-water ocean and habitable surface temperatures for up to 2 billion years of its early history, according to computer modeling of the planet’s ancient climate by scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York. The findings, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, were obtained with a model similar to the type 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. The research was done as part of NASA’s Planetary Science Astrobiology program through the Nexus for Exoplanet System Science (NExSS) program, which seeks to search for life on planets orbiting other stars, or exoplanets, by combining insights from the fields of astrophysics, planetary science, heliophysics, and Earth science.

Scientists long have theorized that Venus formed out of ingredients similar to Earth’s, but followed a different evolutionary path. Measurements by NASA’s Pioneer mission to Venus in the 1980s first suggested Venus originally may have had an ocean.




However, Venus is closer to the sun than Earth and receives far more sunlight. As a result, the planet’s early ocean evaporated, water-vapor molecules were broken apart by ultraviolet radiation, and hydrogen escaped to space.

With no water left on the surface, carbon dioxide built up in the atmosphere, leading to a so-called runaway greenhouse effect that created present conditions.

Previous studies have shown that how fast a planet spins on its axis affects whether it has a habitable climate. A day on Venus is 117 Earth days. Until recently, it was assumed that a thick atmosphere like that of modern Venus was required for the planet to have today’s slow rotation rate.

However, newer research has shown that a thin atmosphere like that of modern Earth could have produced the same result. That means an ancient Venus with an Earth-like atmosphere could have had the same rotation rate it has today.

Another factor that impacts a planet’s climate is topography. The GISS team postulated ancient Venus had more dry land overall than Earth, especially in the tropics. That limits the amount of water evaporated from the oceans and, as a result, the greenhouse effect by water vapor.

This type of surface appears ideal for making a planet habitable; there seems to have been enough water to support abundant life, with sufficient land to reduce the planet’s sensitivity to changes from incoming sunlight.

Way and his GISS colleagues simulated conditions of a hypothetical early Venus with an atmosphere similar to Earth’s, a day as long as Venus’ current day, and a shallow ocean consistent with early data from the Pioneer spacecraft.

The researchers added information about Venus’ topography from radar measurements taken by NASA’s Magellan mission in the 1990s, and filled the lowlands with water, leaving the highlands exposed as Venusian continents. The study also factored in an ancient sun that was up to 30 percent dimmer. Even so, ancient Venus still received about 40 percent more sunlight than Earth does today.

“In the GISS model’s simulation, Venus’ slow spin exposes its dayside to the sun for almost two months at a time,” co-author and fellow GISS scientist Anthony Del Genio said.

“This warms the surface and produces rain that creates a thick layer of clouds, which acts like an umbrella to shield the surface from much of the solar heating. The result is mean climate temperatures that are actually a few degrees cooler than Earth’s today.”

The findings have direct implications for future NASA missions, such as the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite and James Webb Space Telescope, which will try to detect possible habitable planets and characterize their atmospheres.

The Daily Galaxy via NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center


No rotation, no electromagnetic field and close to a star. What would you expect?

Very likely there was life there the same as here. But volcanoes covered it all in kilometers of molten surface. We will never discover it.

well this story certainly brought out the lunatics!
my personal congratulations to Debra K - you win the prize for the most gibberish filled moron-rant.
The prize is a miniature globe, you can collect it from the kind men in white coats that will be coming to your house later - please ignore the word "Asylum" on the side of their van.

I read the article and enjoyed it so much I thought I'd see what other people thought... and made the mistake of reading the comments... oh good christ, how stupid people can be. Of course, the best part is that they're using technology partially dependent upon orbiting satellites in order to post their stupidity -- and they don't even realize it. Perhaps if they can "prove" the Earth is flat, they can also "prove" they're not alive (since there's no real way for them to be where they are if the Earth really is flat) by jumping off a tall building or something. But before they go, perhaps they'd like to try to explain how, without the coriolis force it experiences by being on the surface of a spinning sphere, water spirals down a plug hole...

One thing for sure: in today's scientific climate, where politics dictates science in many areas, Albert Einstein would not made even on the top 100 list. Why?
Because tolerance and respect for other people's opinion was on much higher level.
Can you imagine Einstein declaring his religious side, which actually happened !
Erased from the all records.

hrm intervesting

"Until recently, it was assumed that a thick atmosphere like that of modern Venus was required for the planet to have today’s slow rotation rate."
Unfortunately, the author didn't bother to consider that this article might be read by ignoramuses like me who wouldn't understand how the thickness of an atmosphere could affect the rotation rate.
The fact is merely tossed out and left unexplained.

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