Most of us heard some people asking themselves about why humanity doesn’t consider colonizing Venus instead of Mars. Before laughing loud at such claims and assuming those people have no idea how hot and completely unhabitable for life Venus is, we should embrace the hypothesis that the planet had once supported life because that’s precisely what a new study is claiming.
This is not a new idea: NASA’s Pioneer Venus was sent to Venus about four decades ago to gather data about its surface, and the astronomers concluded that our neighboring-planet might have once had oceans of water on the surface. And we all now that abundant water is the perfect host for life.
A new study was presented very recently, on Sept. 20th at the 2019 Joint Meeting of the European Planetary Science Congress (EPSC-DPS), which took place from September 15th to 20th in Geneva, Switzerland. Michael Way and Anthony Del Genio of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Science (GISS) analyzed the possibility of Venus hosting some forms of life in the distant past, 2 to 3 billion years after the planet formed. During that period, the environment of Venus was habitable enough for life to emerge.
Venus Could Have Supported Life
Dr. Way and Dr. Del Genio created a series of five 3D simulations that considered what the environment of Venus would be like based on different levels of water coverage. The simulations consisted of a general circulation model that took into account the changing of atmospheric compositions and the increase of the Sun’s power oscillation over its lifetime.
All five simulations indicated something familiar: for about 3 billion years, Venus would have been able to maintain stable temperatures – from a low of 20 °C (68 °F) to a high of 50 °C (122 °F). Dr. Way tells us the following: “We hypothesize that Venus may have had a stable climate for billions of years. The near-global resurfacing event may be responsible for its transformation from an Earth-like climate to the hellish hot-house we see today.”
Unfortunately, we have absolutely no chance to meet little green men with big black eyes who live on Venus, because the planet’s surface is like a vision of Hell and no organisms can live there. Except maybe if we’ll find a way to invent the time machine and go to Venus billions of years ago when it was a lot cooler.