Today Venus is considered a huge incandescent ball with an average surface temperature of 464 degrees. It is covered with a dense layer of sulfuric acid clouds and does not look like a place to find life at all. Scientists suggest that hundreds of millions of years ago, the planet was similar to Earth. New research has made it possible to understand what led to such disastrous consequences.
The main culprit in what happened to Venus was Jupiter. This is a real giant, weighing 2.5 times more than all the other planets of the solar system combined. Presumably, earlier it was much closer to the Sun, but as a result of migration it moved to its current position. Apparently, at the time of the displacement, Jupiter led to the formation of a greenhouse effect on Venus, the consequences of which can be observed to this day.
“One of the interesting things about Venus today is that its orbit is almost perfectly circular. In this project, we wanted to find out if she has always been like this, and if not, what are the reasons for this, ”the researchers say.
To answer these questions, astronomers have created a model that mimics the solar system. With its help, you can calculate the location of all planets at any time and how they affect each other. In the course of computer simulations, it turned out that Venus had a different orbit earlier. It is also highly likely that the planet was habitable and with a lot of water. At the time of Jupiter’s migration, Venus underwent dramatic climate changes, which led to heating and then cooling and loss of moisture.
The phosphine gas found in the atmosphere, which is produced by microbes, can be a confirmation of this theory. Researchers believe that this is the last refuge of living organisms, which have been in the clouds of sulfuric acid for more than a billion years.