Our view of Venus has progressed from a swampy planet to one that may host life somewhere around there.
Venus is Earth’s sister planet, and it had experienced a love-hate path when it came to exploration.
Currently, the results suggest the presence of possible habitability on the planet, and that might just put the planet back in the spotlight!
The Planet’s Specialities
With Venus’ orbit close to the rising/setting sun, there were various reasons for astronomers to be interested in it.
As humanity started exploring the solar system, a world wit similar mass and radius as our planet appeared the most attractive target.
Venus is placed just on the border of the sun’s habitable zone, the area around a star where a planet should be able to host liquid water on its surface.
“Ideas of a temperate or jungle-style environment at the Venus surface persisted until the mid-60s,” said Stephen Kane, a planet-hunter from the University of California, Riverside.
He also added that “Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet,” the final Hollywood movie that depicted astronauts visiting Venus, was released in 1965, the very same year when the Soviet Venera 3 mission crash-landed on the planet.
In that movie, the fictional astronauts that landed this year discovered a swampland full of dinosaurs, a very different setting from what scientists observed.
Though NASA’s Mariner 5 flew past Venus in 1967, it reported a surface temperature of 860 degrees Fahrenheit (460 degrees Celsius, which means that it’s highly unlikely to see swamps like in the movie in most regions of the planet.
Venus is packed with thick clouds, losing a lot of the attention it had previously attracted in sci-fi lore.