October 11, 2007

The Oceans of Venus

Newly released computer models from the Denver museum of Natural History are presenting a very interesting fact: early Venus may have retained its oceans for more than a billion years.

During Venus' early life, it was constantly bombarded with asteroids. These impacts have significantly reduced the chance of life in previous models. However, the new model adds at least 400 million years to the existence of Venus' oceans. These additional years are very significant because they allow more time for more complex life to exist.

Interest in Venus has possibly been renewed with the sad news that Mars may have been less hospitable to life and even colder in its past than previously thought.

Either way, surface samples from the greenhouse planet would certainly shed some light on its possibly organic past. We may be looking for microbes on Mars, but I'd certainly like to see some fossils from Venus.