What made Venus uninhabitable despite perfect conditions to host life 3 billion years ago?

Venus at Sunrise From the Space Station
Venus at Sunrise From the Space Station NASA

A new study conducted by researchers at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Science has revealed that Venus was once habitable, and it had water on its surface which made it a perfect spot for life to evolve. However, today, Venus is uninhabitable with surface temperatures nearing 500 degrees Fahrenheit. There is also a thick layer of sulphuric acid cloud in Venus today, and it makes this sister planet of the earth a real hell for living creatures.

The new study report revealed that Venus had perfect conditions to host life around three billion years ago. Earlier, several research reports had suggested that Venus once had a surface ocean, but until now, experts were unsure whether the planet was habitable. Now, the new study, using computer models has revealed that Venus was most likely habitable in the past.

For their research, scientists made use of the most accurate models of Venus available, and ran simulations on different volumes of water on the planet's surface. Interestingly, these simulations suggested that Venus had maintained temperatures and water ideal to sustain life for billions of years.

Researchers who took part in the study revealed that the temperature and the geographical pattern was very similar to that of the earth until a mysterious event turned everything upside down. As per researchers, this event might have occurred around 700 million years ago which resulted in a thick layer of gas that forced the planet into a rapid warming phase, and the planet has not recovered from this devastating event.

"Something happened on Venus where a huge amount of gas was released into the atmosphere and couldn't be re-absorbed by the rocks. On Earth we have some examples of large-scale outgassing, for instance the creation of the Siberian Traps 500 million years ago which is linked to mass extinction, but nothing on this scale. It completely transformed Venus," said Michael Way, a researcher at NASA's Goddard Institute in a recent statement.

A few months back, another study report had suggested that Mars had the right conditions to support life around four billion years ago. The research report also added that the Martian atmosphere was capable enough to host pouring rainstorms and flowing water.

Related topics : Nasa