Life On Venus Existed A Long Time Ago, Scientists Say; Why Did It Become Hostile?

First Posted: Aug 10, 2016 05:48 AM EDT

Venus has been capable of harboring life according to a team of researchers with NASA, Uppsala University, Columbia University and the Planetary Science Institute. The scientists created several simulations of conditions on the planet using Earth's climate models and discovered that some instances prove that there was life on Venus a long time ago.

Venus, being an extremely hostile planet, is extraordinarily hot, volcanically active and has an atmosphere composed of mostly carbon dioxide. However, the simulations suggest that the planet was not the way it is today. The scientists created four possible scenarios for the future of Venus based on climate models created to study Earth's climate, Engadget reported.

The planet's models used only differed slightly with energy variances received from the sun or the length of days. The scientist also considered the conditions with shallow oceans. The scientists then found that one simulation resulting from a planet with temperatures low enough to support life and one with clouds and sometimes snowfall. All these persisted until 715 million years ago, during which life was already present on Earth, Nature World News reported.

If the simulations are deemed accurate, the question will be how Venus transformed to its existing condition today. The simulations were not able to go that far, but the scientists believe that speed at which the planet spun on its axis may have played a role in it. The scientists also noted that speeding up the rotation of Venus slightly may have resulted in rapidly rising temperatures. This is because the weather patterns that tended to keep the planet cool were disrupted. Currently, it takes 243 days on Earth for Venus to spin just once.

Venus is still an inhospitable place with temperatures approaching 750K and an atmosphere over 90 times as thick as Earth's. At its current rotation period of 243 days, its climate is believed to have remained habitable until at least 715 million years ago.

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