A study published in the Planetary Science Journal shows that scientists blame Jupiter for making Venus inhospitable. The authors of the study revealed that Venus is very similar to Earth in all things and would have been as hospitable as Earth if not for the tragic influence of Jupiter. The scientists said Jupiter changed its course in its orbit around the sun and this changed Venus’ orbit too, making it to sustain life as it could have done billion of years ago.
The authors of the study said the movement of Jupiter closer and farther as it orbited the sun exerted a gravitational pull that destroyed the natural environment that sustained life on Venus. The biggest planet in our solar system is Jupiter while Venus is the second closest to the sun with a temperature of about 880 degrees Fahrenheit or 471 degrees Celsius. Mercury is much closer to the sun than Venus but much cooler than Venus, the researches said.
The scientists are from the University of California in Riverdale. An astrobiologist with the university and leader of the study, Stephen Kane, said it was very possible that Venus went from wet to dry as a result of the movement of Jupiter around the sun in an in and out fashion.
“As Jupiter migrated, Venus would have gone through dramatic changes in climate, heating up then cooling off and increasingly losing its water into the atmosphere,” Stephen Kane said. “One of the interesting things about the Venus of today is that its orbit is almost perfectly circular.”
According to the researchers, Venus must have had an orbit of 0.3 when Jupiter was closest to the sun about one billion years ago, and at this distance, Venus must have sustained life. However, the migration of Jupiter closer and farther to the sun caused Venus to undergo dramatic environmental changes that brought about its current orbit of 0.006 and its current arid state.
In a recent study, scientists found the gas phosphine which is found on Earth in the atmosphere of Venus, indicating that the planet must have sustained microbial life or be suitable to sustaining life in some form. The researchers said the presence of phosphine may indicate proof of former life before the planet Venus became what it is today.
“There are probably a lot of other processes that could produce the gas that hasn’t yet been explored,” Kane said. “I focus on the differences between Venus and Earth, and what went wrong for Venus, so we can gain insight into how the Earth is habitable, and what we can do to shepherd this planet as best we can.”