The planet, with its immense temperatures and thick CO2 atmosphere, was probably once more like Earth according to a climate model created by NASA.
Scientists at NASA have developed a climate model to understand whether or not Venus could once have been as habitable as Earth.
Using similar algorithms and tools applied to Earth’s climate models, scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies explore whether Venus’ high carbon dioxide atmosphere and water-less surface could once have harbored life.
Exploring the planet’s topography and rotation rates, the research team indicated that the surface of Venus could have once held bodies of water – enough to sustain life and high evaporation. Not only that, but even with its slow rotation rate which explains its thick atmosphere (90 times that of Earth), it could have possessed a similar thinner atmosphere to Earth making it perfect for habitation according to a report by UPI.
The current high temperatures that Venus has can reach to 864 degrees Fahrenheit but early Venus would have been exposed to a sun 30 percent dimmer meaning it could have been much cooler and able to lessen the amount of water loss through evaporation.
“In the GISS model’s simulation, Venus’ slow spin exposes its dayside to the sun for almost two months at a time,” explained Anthony Del Genio, a GISS researcher involved in the study. “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.”
It’s this evaporation and exposure to immense temperatures that has caused Venus to be the uninhabitable planet it is today but as the climate model suggests, this was probably a very different story billions of years ago.
The study was published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.