NASA’s Juno has finally reached Jupiter’s orbit after five years of travelling through space and they have called it their biggest achievement yet. Now, scientists at RICE University in Houston, America, have published a research paper in Astrobiology, which states, that had conditions been slightly different “eons” ago, life could’ve been possible on Venus.
Scientists have published their views on the history of planets, life-sustaining planets and the possibility of finding more in space. They said that “minor evolutionary changes could have altered the fates of both Earth and Venus”.
In our solar system, Earth lies inside the Goldilocks zone, which is the perfect distance from the Sun, and so is neither too cold nor too hot to maintain liquid water, making life possible. Scientists are now exploring the possibility of planets in the Goldilocks zone in extra solar systems.
Rice Earth Scientist, Adrian Lenardic, said, “If we find a planet (in another solar system) sitting where Venus is that actually has signs of life, we’ll know that what we see in our solar system isn’t universal.”
But, he adds, it isn’t simply the placement of Earth in the Goldilocks zone that makes life on Earth possible, but certain changes in its conditions billions of years ago that have made it possible. Likewise, small variations in Venus’s atmosphere could have prevented it from becoming a burning hot desert.
Billions of years earlier, our planet’s conditions were such that it would’ve seemed like an inhospitable and alien planet. He said, “There’s debate about this, but the Earth in its earliest lifetimes, let’s say, 2-3 billion years ago, would have looked for all intents and purposes like an alien planet.”
The paper also includes a little bit about the philosophy of science and about how scientists at Rice University might explore the solar system in the future. Space exploration is reaching far and previously untouched bounds so don’t be alarmed if you see online applications to Venus in the course of time!