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Evidence mounts for an ocean on early Venus

Second planet from the sun may have been watery millions of years after its birth, simulations suggest

7:00am, August 1, 2017

NOT ALWAYS HELLISH  Venus is completely uninhabitable now. But simulations suggest that early in its history the planet had a liquid ocean.

Venus may have been all wet early on.

New simulations suggest that if the now-hellish planet had just the right amount of cloud cover, carbon dioxide and water to start with, Venus could have formed an ocean. The result, published online July 18 in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, provides a new clue to whether Venus could have ever supported life.

The finding could also help planetary scientists in their search for habitable planets far beyond the solar system by revealing what conditions in a planet’s atmosphere and on its surface may make it suitable for life.

“This work plays into a much bigger puzzle of understanding the habitability of exoplanets,” says Michael Way, an astrophysicist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City who was not involved in the study.

Last year, Way and colleagues reported that Venus’ slow

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