Venus is regularly called Earth’s twin. The two planets are the same size, share many physical qualities, and moreover appear to be the same planet – just two different colors. However, the atmosphere of Venus is rather unique. Obviously, it’s incredibly hot, but now scientists believe that there was enough moisture on the planet at one time to actually cover the entire planet with at least 80 feet of water. That would mean the entire planet would be covered by one massive ocean.
However, due to the chemical makeup of the planet – those oceans wouldn’t have been traditional water filled oceans – like scientists once believed. When the planet was cooler, and the moisture could actually precipitate – scientists believe that the liquid on Venus would have been carbon dioxide. The thought of carbon dioxide oceans coating the entire planet might seem like a stretch to some, but the truth is that it might have been entirely possible on Venus.
Scientists at Cornell University in New York found through investigating supercritical fluids that the physical properties of them did not change gradually like many before them had thought. In fact, the new research points to the supercritical fluids changing more quickly with pressure changes and that ultimately changes the way the entire process is evaluated from a molecular standpoint.
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Today Venus has an atmospheric pressure that is roughly 90 times of that on Earth, but researchers believe that this was probably significantly higher just a few hundred million years ago. “This in turn makes it plausible that geological features on Venus like rift valleys, riverlike beds, and plains are the fingerprints of near-surface activity of liquidlike supercritical carbon dioxide,” according to Dima Bolmatov, the lead study author and theoretical physicist at Cornell University.
What they found was that it would be entirely possible to have massive clouds of liquid trapped within gas – thus creating the potential for these massive bodies of water that were otherwise thought to be implausible or just something that didn’t seem realistic. This is a significant breakthrough for Venus, who is now getting more attention from scientists as the properties seem more obtainable than those on Mars for making life on another planet – or near another planet possible.