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Astronomy & Science

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Venus Might Have Been Habitable with Oceans and Life in the Past, Study Suggests


Venus is often considered a hostile planet with a surface temperature hot enough to melt lead and a toxic atmosphere. However, researchers have found evidence that Venus might have had oceans of liquid water and life in the past. A study presented at the EPSC-DPS Joint Meeting in Geneva suggests that Venus could have had a stable climate similar to Earth’s for billions of years.

Michael Way, a planetary scientist at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, believes that Venus had liquid water on its surface, plate tectonics, and a stable temperate climate similar to Earth’s for at least 4.2 billion years. However, a resurfacing event about 700 million years ago changed the planet’s climate to a hot house.


The research uses two previous studies by Way and his team as well as papers that model virtualized Venus-like planets and topographies. 3D GCM (general circulation model) modeling supports the “optimistic” view that Venus could have been habitable for most of its history.

However, something happened on Venus about 700 million years ago, leading to a huge amount of gas being released into the air and causing a runaway greenhouse effect. The atmospheric composition of Venus, mostly carbon dioxide and nitrogen, creates high temperatures and air pressure.

Researchers say that a carbonate-silicate cycle, which removes CO2 from the atmosphere, was stopped on Venus due to intense volcanic activity. This could have been the reason for the planet’s sudden transformation.

The study suggests that Venus could have been very different in the past and could have been habitable. The research could have implications for exoplanets found in the “Venus Zone,” which may have liquid water and temperate climates.

Although there is no evidence of life on Venus, the possibility of habitability in the past raises questions about the potential for life on other planets. The study suggests that planets that are considered barren due to their proximity to stars may have had habitable conditions in the past.