March 29, 2023

Venus may have had oceans after life appeared on Earth

Posted on 03/13/2023 22:10

Jupiter is the second planet in the solar system closest to the sun – (Credit: NASA/Reproduction)

Perhaps the atmospheric past of Venus was very different from the current reality of the planet, which is considered one of the driest, hottest and most oxygen-poor in the solar system. A study promoted by researchers at the University of Chicago finds that the rocky circuit may have harbored liquid oceans and an atmosphere that supports a habitable environment — and sooner than previously thought.

Scientists from the Department of Geophysical Sciences at the Alexandra Warren Foundation and Edwin Kayte, who are responsible for the analysis, say that they decided to study the possibilities of life on Venus after studies by their colleagues supported the hypothesis that in the early days of the solar system, when the rate of solar radiation was 30% less than what It is today, the planet would have a much lower surface temperature and a thin atmosphere that would allow liquid water to exist on the surface.

To verify the hypothesis, the researchers built an exploration model where they had as a starting point the idea that Venus would indeed have liquid oceans. The goal was to find a hypothesis in which the planet’s climatic and geological changes over the years lead to the current reality. If they don’t find it, the liquid ocean hypothesis will be permanently discarded. The study result was published in early March in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The model was built to analyze the possibility of oceans on Venus with the help of artificial intelligence. The scientists filled in the model with different ocean levels and the evolution of these water basins through three different processes of evaporation and deoxygenation of the planet.

After filling in the data, the pair ran the model with three different starting points 94,080 times — each time giving the system a score that was then rated to see which hypothesis was closest to Venus’ current atmosphere.

The study revealed that of the 94,080 different model runs, there are only “a few hundred” matching facts that would result in the actual atmosphere of Venus verified today.

Surprisingly, despite most attempts to show that the planet has been in uninhabitable conditions for more than 70% of its history — four times longer than some previous studies have revealed — there have been some models that have revealed possible time periods in which Venus was habitable. .

The researchers say that the habitable ages would have ended 3 billion years ago and the depth of the oceans would have been a maximum of 300 metres. The time frame is later than when, according to fossil records, scientists discovered the beginning of life on Earth.

This factor strengthens the researchers’ hope that there will be life on Venus when oceans existed on the current dry and sultry planet: it has been proven that liquid water is necessary for the existence of life, as it was with Earth. And if life was recorded on Earth some 3.5 to 4 billion years ago, it is likely that the planet considered to be a sister to the human habitat also harbored life by maintaining liquid water on the surface 3 billion years ago.

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