AUG 02, 2017 10:32 AM PDT

Did Venus Ever Have Oceans?

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

Earth is a unique planet; not only does it support life, but it hosts vast liquid water oceans that cover two-thirds of its surface. These conditions are so elusive that we have yet to confirm a similar environment anywhere else in the solar system today.

Some scientists theorize that moons like Enceladus, Europa, and Titan could offer habitable conditions, but this has yet to be proven.

The inhabitability of other planets in the solar system besides Earth could have been considerably different in primordial times, and our blisteringly-hot ‘sister’ planet, Venus, is no exception.

Today, Venus is so hot that liquid oceans can't exist there. On the other hand, it may not have always been that way.

Image Credit: GooKingSword/Pixabay

In a new study appearing in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, planetary scientists found that Venus could have had favorable conditions for harboring a surface ocean at some point in its distant past.

They used computer models as the basis of their study. Using their knowledge about planet formation, they simulated a primordial Venusian environment and tinkered with its parameters to find out if oceans were possible. Surprisingly, it could have been.

If Venus had just the right amount of cloud cover, along with the right amounts of carbon dioxide and water vapor in the atmosphere, then these qualities could have kept primordial Venus cool enough to harbor a liquid ocean.

Also read: Could you hear somebody talk on Venus?

Oceans don’t exist on Venus today because the surface is entirely too hot. The long 116-day rotation rate means solar radiation strikes regions of the planet’s surface for extended periods of time. Moreover, the high volume of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere creates a greenhouse effect, trapping heat and warming the entire planet.

Temperatures on Venus push 864º Fahrenheit, but the computer model simulations revealed that a previously-cloudy Venus with just the right atmospheric mix could have sustained much cooler temperatures of around 59º Fahrenheit after planet formation.

At these temperatures, liquid water oceans wouldn’t be out of the question, which has implications for Venus' habitability before things started heating up.

Related: Venus was probably habitable at one time or another

The study doesn’t prove that Venus ever did have surface oceans nor that the planet was once habitable, but it does reveal that such ideas are possible.

Unfortunately, Venus’ environment is so hostile that landers and probes are destroyed by the elements there rather quickly, so exploring the planet is a tricky task. Collecting hard evidence and doing anything besides theorizing will rather difficult to do until we can overcome this obstacle.

Perhaps future advancements in space exploration technology could change that, but for now, it’s nothing but a guessing game.

Source: Phys.org

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
MAR 29, 2020
Space & Astronomy
United States Space Force Launches First Mission
MAR 29, 2020
United States Space Force Launches First Mission
Despite all the measures that are currently in place to keep as much of the general public away from public places as po ...
APR 12, 2020
Space & Astronomy
NASA Attaches Autonomous Helicopter to Perseverance Rover
APR 12, 2020
NASA Attaches Autonomous Helicopter to Perseverance Rover
Those paying any attention to NASA’s periodic updates during these past several weeks should have perceived what s ...
APR 12, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Three New Crew Members Arrive at the International Space Station
APR 12, 2020
Three New Crew Members Arrive at the International Space Station
The International Space Station received three new crew members this past week following extensive pre-quarantine measur ...
JUN 01, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Why SpaceX's Demo-2 Launch This Past Weekend Was So Significant
JUN 01, 2020
Why SpaceX's Demo-2 Launch This Past Weekend Was So Significant
If you somehow managed to miss the exciting news this past weekend, NASA and SpaceX set an important precedent in Americ ...
JUL 18, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Closest Ever Images of the Sun Expose Previously Unknown Features
JUL 18, 2020
Closest Ever Images of the Sun Expose Previously Unknown Features
New images from the Solar Orbiter, a joint project between NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) that launched in Feb ...
JUL 19, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Scientists Engineer Human Cartilage in Space
JUL 19, 2020
Scientists Engineer Human Cartilage in Space
Russian cosmonaut, Oleg Kononenko, has successfully carried out an experiment to engineer human cartilage in microgravit ...
Loading Comments...