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Tue Aug 13, 2019, 12:12 AM

How Venus Turned Into Hell, and How the Earth Is Next

Source: Space.com

How Venus Turned Into Hell, and How the Earth Is Next

By Paul Sutter 6 days ago Science & Astronomy

Earth is pretty nice. but it won't stay that way.

Paul M. Sutter is an astrophysicist at The Ohio State University, host of Ask a Spaceman and Space Radio, and author of "Your Place in the Universe." Sutter contributed this article to Space.com's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.

Everyone wants to get off the planet Earth and go explore the solar system, without realizing just how good we've got it down here. We've got a lot of air, more liquid water than we know what to do with, a nice strong planetary magnetic field that protects us cosmic radiation, and nice strong gravity that keeps our muscles strong and our bones thick.

All things considered, Earth is pretty nice.

-snip-

But what about Venus? It's about the same size as the Earth and the same mass. It's actually a little bit closer than Mars. It's definitely warmer than Mars. So why don't we try going for our sister planet instead of the red one?

Oh, that's right: Venus is basically hell.

-snip-

So how did Earth's sister end up so twisted?

Because Venus is made of pretty much the same stuff as our Earth, and has roughly the same size and mass, scientists are pretty sure that, back in the early days of the solar system, Venus was kind of nice. It probably supported liquid water oceans on the surface and white fluffy clouds dotting a blue sky. Actually, quite lovely.

But four and a half billion years ago, our sun was different. It was smaller and dimmer. As stars like our sun age, they steadily grow brighter. So back then Venus was firmly planted in the habitable zone, the region of the solar system that can support liquid water on the surface of a planet without it being too hot or too cold.

-snip-

Read more: https://www.space.com/venus-runaway-greenhouse-effect-earth-next.html

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