Energy

Scientists Find Another Planet Once Had An Ocean

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Andrew Follett Energy and Science Reporter

Venus once had an ocean that potentially could have supported life, according to researchers from the Université Paris-Saclay.

Scientists used computer simulations to examine a variety of factors, including carbon dioxide (CO2) levels, heat from the sun and estimated water on the plane over the course of Venus’ history. The simulations strongly suggest that Venus had a shallow ocean sometime in the distant past.

Venus may have had ancient oceans that covered half the planet for most of its history. If that’s the case, Venus’s average surface temperature would have been around 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

Today, Venus has an barren landscape and is extremely hot, with an average surface temperature of 864 degrees Fahrenheit. The simulations show that Venus’ temperature hasn’t always been that high however, so life could have developed early in its geological history. At some point in the distant past, there was enough cloud cover over the planet to make surface conditions cool enough to support an ocean.

Venus may have supported some kind of life in a 2 billion-year period before it became too inhospitable, according to a different NASA co-authored study. Scientists with NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Columbia University found life could have developed on Venus since it has similar features as Earth.

NASA announced in April the agency has spent $3.6 million to build 12 small satellites to explore the planet Venus in search of a mysterious substance that absorbs half the planet’s light. This CubeSat UV Experiment (CUVE) mission will launch the satellites to investigate atmospheric processes on Venus.

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