The scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) have discovered, through computer modelling, that the planet Venus might have been habitable once. Venus, considered to be the most inhospitable places in the entire solar system, is said to have had an abundance of water.
The evidence came from Venus Express satellite which was circling the orbit of Venus that Earth and Venus used to be similar at some point in time. Currently, Earth consists of life with its moderate temperatures but it is impossible for life to exist on the extremely burning hot Venus.Currently, Venus is too hot with 462 degrees Celsius as its surface temperature and contains almost 90 times the carbon dioxide gas present on Earth.
The ESA scientist for Venus stated that the basic composition of both the planets remains same including their size. As of now, Venus contains an extremely low amount of water but the scientists believe that this wasn’t the case billions of years ago. The presence of granite on Venus also suggests that there might have been continent formation on Venus due to tectonic plates.
HOW DID VENUS LOOSEIT’S WATER CONTENT?
Scientists believe that Venus has lost the most of its water quotient to space owing to ultraviolet radiation. Venus is closer to the sun than the Earth and hence is the recipient of more sunlight. The sun produces ultraviolet radiation which seeped into Venus’ atmosphere and broke down the water molecules into oxygen and hydrogen atoms. The loose atoms then found their way in the space.
On measuring the water vapour that has managed to escape, Venus Express found that hydrogen atoms were twice in quantity as oxygen. This proved that the source of vapour was water only.
Scientists even believe that with such a close proximity to Sun, any oceans present on Venus must have lasted only for some million years. With the increase in the intensity of the Sun, the water must have evaporated completely.
THE FINAL VERDICT
The researchers believe that even though there has been evidence of water on Venus, it doesn’t necessarily suggest the presence of vast oceans on Venus. It just points out the fact that there had once been anabundance of water present of Venus. This also hints at the fact that there might have been some primitive life forms on Venus.
Basically, all this points to the fact that around 2 billion years ago, Venus might have been a habitable planet with water supporting the life forms.