Venus’s surface may have never been cool enough for oceans or life

By Jonathan O’Callaghan

Venus

Cloud structure in the Venusian atmosphere

JAXA/ISAS/DARTS/Kevin M. Gill

Venus might never have had the conditions necessary for water to exist on its surface, meaning the planet wouldn’t have been habitable as once thought.

Today, Venus is a hellish world, with temperatures on its surface hot enough to melt lead. Yet the presence of water vapour in its thick atmosphere, coupled with surface features known as tesserae that look like ancient continents, suggest it could once have supported oceans and maybe life billions of years ago. Three new Venus spacecraft, two from NASA and …

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