The climate of the planet Venus could have been stable and temperate for almost three billion years, which would have allowed life to develop, say American planetologists.
A mysterious planetary event reshaped 80% of its surface, show climatic models created by the astrophysicist Michael Way and his colleagues from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.
Could the planet next to Earth have been able to shelter life? Most likely, based on the simulations of the American team, which suggest that temperatures of 20 to 50 degrees Celsius would have prevailed on the second planet of the solar system for about three billion years.
Today, it is considered the hottest planet in the system, with an average surface temperature of around 460 ° C.
The American Pioneer Venus probes 1 and 2 detected in the 1970s the first clues that the planet may have already had a shallow ocean.
According to the researchers, a temperate climate would still be observed today if the cataclysmic event 700 or 750 million years ago did not cause a massive release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This gas was hitherto imprisoned in the rocks of the planet.
A volcanic planet
The explanation could well be related to the intense volcanic activity of the planet. It is quite possible that large quantities of magma accumulated there, releasing into the atmosphere a huge amount of carbon dioxide that would not have been reabsorbed over time for some unknown reason.
This massive influx of CO2 into the atmosphere would have triggered an intense greenhouse effect that would have caused temperatures to rise.
If life could have existed in the past, it would have disappeared as a result of the event. Nowadays, Venus remains an unlikely world for the presence of life, not only because of the high temperature, but also because of the pressure on its surface.
Some volcanoes are still active on the planet.