New findings show that Venus lacks oceans, a necessary condition for life

Astrophysicists led by UNIGE and NCCR PlanetS are researching the past

Venus
Venus, the second planet from the sun, is named after the Roman goddess of love and beauty. After the moon, it is the second-brightest natural object in the night sky. Its rotation (243 Earth days) takes longer than its orbit of the Sun (224.7 Earth days). It is sometimes called Earth’s “sister planet” because of their similar composition, size, mass, and proximity to the Sun. It has no natural satellites.

“>Venus To find out if our sister planet Earth has oceans.

Venus can be considered as Earth’s evil twin. At first glance, it has a mass and size similar to our home planet, is mostly made of rocky material, holds water, and has an atmosphere. However, closer inspection reveals amazing differences between them: Venus’ thick carbon dioxide atmosphere, maximum surface temperature and pressure, and sulfur.

acid
Any substance that when dissolved in water, gives a pH less than 7.0, or donates a hydrogen ion.

“> kecut Clouds are in stark contrast to the conditions necessary for life on Earth. However, this may not always be the case.

Previous studies have suggested that Venus may have been a more hospitable place in the past, with its liquid watery oceans. A team of astrophysicists led by the University of Geneva (UNIGE) and the National Center for Efficiency in Research (NCCR) PlanetS, Switzerland, has investigated whether our planetary twin actually went through a lighter period. The results are published in the journal temper tantrums, indicating that this is not the case.

Venus' early surface and atmosphere

Artist’s view of the surface and early atmosphere of Venus, more than 4 billion years ago. In the foreground is a mysterious explorer who is surprised to see the ocean actually evaporate into the sky. Credit: © Manchu

Venus has recently become an important research topic for astrophysicists. ESA and

NASA
Established in 1958, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is an independent agency of the United States Federal Government that succeeded the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). It is responsible for the civilian space program, as well as aeronautics and aerospace research. It’s vision is “To discover and expand knowledge for the benefit of humanity.”

“> NASA This year I decided to send at least three space exploration missions over the next decade to the second planet closest to the sun. One of the main questions this mission seeks to answer is whether Venus had an early ocean or not. Astrophysicists led by Martin Turbet, a researcher in the Department of Astronomy in the Faculty of Science at UNIGE and a member of NCCR PlanetS, have been trying to answer this question with tools available on Earth.

“We simulated the climates of Earth and Venus early in their evolution, more than four billion years ago, when the planet’s surface was still melting,” explains Martin Turbet. “The accompanying high temperature means that any water is present in the form of steam, like in a high pressure pot.”

Using complex 3-D atmospheric models, similar to those scientists use to simulate Earth’s current climate and future evolution, the team studied how the atmospheres of the two planets evolved over time and whether oceans could form in the process.

“Thanks to our simulations, we were able to show that climatic conditions do not allow water vapor to condense in Venus’s atmosphere,” said Martin Turbet. This means that the temperature never drops enough for the water in its atmosphere to form raindrops that can fall on its surface. Instead, water remained as a gas in the atmosphere, and oceans never formed. “One of the main reasons for this is the clouds that form preferentially on the night side of the planet. These clouds cause a very strong greenhouse effect that prevents Venus from cooling as quickly as previously thought,” the Geneva researchers continued.

Small differences have big consequences

Surprisingly, astrophysics simulations also reveal that Earth could easily suffer the same fate as Venus. If the Earth were a little closer to the sun, or if the sun were as bright as it is “in its youth” as it is today, our planet would look very different today. It is possible that the young, relatively weak radiation of the Sun allowed Earth to cool enough to condense the water that makes up our oceans. For Emeline Bolmont, a professor at UNIGE, PlaneS member and co-author of the study, “This is a complete reflection of the way we view what has long been called the ‘Fading Young Sun paradox’. This has long been considered the main obstacle to the emergence of life on Earth!” The argument is that if solar radiation were much weaker than it is now, it would turn Earth into a ball of ice hostile to life. “But it turns out that for a very hot young Earth, this dim sun could actually be an unexpected opportunity.”

“Our results are based on a theoretical model and are an important building block in answering questions about the history of Venus,” said study co-author David Ehrenreich, professor in the Department of Astronomy at UNIGE and a member of NCCR PlanetS. “But we won’t be able to judge it for sure on our computers. Observations of three future space missions to Venus will be needed to confirm – or disprove – our work.” This prospect pleases Emlyn Polmont, whose “wonderful questions can be answered by the Center for Life in the New Universe, which was recently established within the UNIGE School of Science.”

Reference: “The asymmetry of day and night clouds prevented early oceans on Venus but not on Earth” by Martin Turbet, Emeline Polmont, Guillaume Chaverot, David Ehrenreich, Jeremy Leconte, and Emmanuel Mark, 13 October 2021, temper tantrums.
DOI: 10.1038 / s41586-021-03873-w

See also  Father (62) who raped daughters gets 5 years in prison and TBS: 'Victims scarred for life' | Inland

Leave a Comment