A new study by Swiss scientists has shown that Venus has always been too hot for the oceans and never developed. The results are published in the journal Nature.
Like all newborn planets, young Venus was very hot – too hot for oceans of liquid water. Previous simulations have shown that at some point in its development, the planet cooled down sufficiently, thanks in large part to clouds that reflected a lot of solar radiation. In addition, the dim young Sun did not affect the planet as much.
In a new study, scientists led by Martin Turbet, a researcher at the Geneva Astronomical Observatory in Switzerland, re-modeled the climate of ancient Venus. They came up with an unexpected result.
Turbet and his colleagues found that on young Venus, clouds were useless in terms of protecting the planet. They not only did not reflect sunlight, but they also heated Venus, creating a greenhouse effect, trapping a lot of heat. Thus, the planet never cooled down enough for it to rain and form rivers, lakes, and oceans.
In recent years, researchers have increasingly seen Venus as a potential place to search for traces of life and possible refuge in the future, for example, in its clouds. Several studies and simulations have shown that ancient Venus had large oceans and a mild climate that persisted for several billion years.
Today this planet is completely uninhabitable – its dry surface is so hot that it can melt lead. But some scientists have argued that life on Venus could exist in clouds at an altitude of about 50 km, where temperature and pressure are not so severe. However, the new study shatters all hopes.