Recent research has revealed that Venus might have looked like Earth for three billion years, with vast oceans that could have been friendly to life. The early Venusian atmosphere was thinner and the young Sun was emitting less radiation, putting Venus in the habitable zone. There is a real possibility that Venus might have been the first habitable planet in our solar system and radically different from the Venus we see today.
In the blink of a geological eye, nearly 600 million years ago, a massive ice age radically altered the planet’s climate, resulting in a “Snowball Earth,” also known as the Cryogenian Period, severely constricting the oxygen supply on the planet. Scientists at the University of Southampton have proposed that changes in Earth’s orbit may have allowed complex life to emerge and thrive during the most hostile climate episode the planet has ever experienced.
“Our models show that there is a real possibility that Venus could have been habitable and radically different from the Venus we see today,” said Michael Way of The Goddard Institute for Space Science about Earth’s ‘twisted sister’ planet. “This opens up all kinds of implications for exoplanets found in what is called the ‘Venus Zone’, which may in fact host liquid water and temperate climates.”
“We found evidence that may indicate a change in the structure of iron, which suggests perhaps two separate cooling events in Earth’s history,” said Joanne Stephenson, a researcher from The Australian National University (ANU), about the confirmation of the existence of the Earth’s “innermost inner core” that may point to an unknown, dramatic event in the Earth’s history.
“Early Mars was an extremely active planet from a geological point of view,” said Alberto G. Fairén, a visiting astrobiologist at Cornell University. “The planet had the conditions needed to support the presence of liquid water on the surface – and on Earth, where there’s water, there’s life. “So early Mars was a habitable planet,” he said. “Was it inhabited? That’s a question that the next rover Perseverance will help to answer.”
“So they’re kind of like dark matter,” said paleontologist David Jablonski of the University of Chicago about the sanctuaries, the “refugia” that have never been found in the fossil record, but sheltered the shell-shocked and decimated species of Earth’s past mass extinctions until they were able to repopulate the planet in ensuing eons.