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Does Venus have Water?

Updated: Jan 28, 2022

By Anisha Kumari
December 26, 2021
UPDATED 12:00 PM EST

Venus.

[Photo Credit: NYT]


Galileo Galilei discovered Venus in 1610. Venus is the second closest planet to the Sun and the nearest planet to Earth. It is named after an ancient Greek god. Like Earth, its interior is rocky and hard. It is the hottest planet in the solar system, largely because the clouds are made up of sulfuric acid and there is a thick atmosphere, trapping carbon dioxide. While Venus might be smaller than Earth, it still has twice as much nitrogen as Earth does. After mercury, Venus is the only planet that does not have any moons.


Water is essential to sustaining life, and humans have always wondered if other planets have water and life as well. We always seem to be faced with the question, "does Venus have any water?" To answer this question, we need to examine the present state of Venus. Venus is extremely hot and dry, so it is impossible for life and water to exist or sustain on such a planet. Its atmosphere traps greenhouse gases, which make it very hot. Its surface temperature is at least 400°C, making it impossible for life and water to exist. But Venus wasn't always this way. Scientists have discovered that it had water and was habitable billions of years ago. According to NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Venus may have had a shallow ocean with liquid water and a habitable surface temperature for up to 2 billion years of its formative years.Now you might ask yourself, “where did this water go?”. As Venus is closer to the Sun than Earth, Venus receives more sunlight. Venus once had vast oceans, but these early oceans evaporated as Venus received loads of sunlight. Scientists have found that Venus had oceans that were hundreds of meters in depth.



References


[1] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0032063399000367


[2] https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/ast.2011.9270


[3] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0019103597956773


[4] https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2016/nasa-climate-modeling-suggests-venus-may-have-been-habitable


[5] https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/14/science/venus-life-clouds.html--Picture credit



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