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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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ScienceShot: Venus, Doomed From the Start?
29 May 2013 1:00 pm
Was young Venus an Eden or a hell? Though the planet is closer to the sun than Earth is, our star was dimmer in those early years, so Venus—about the same size and mass as Earth—may have been cool enough to host oceans and even life. But new work published online today in Nature dashes that hope. Both Earth and Venus were born hot, with molten surfaces and probably thick steam atmospheres. Because Earth was farther from the sun, however, its surface cooled and solidified fast, within 4 million years; when rain fell out of the steamy atmosphere, it landed on solid ground and created oceans. In contrast, the new calculations indicate that Venus was probably doomed: Its proximity to the sun kept its surface hot and molten for up to 100 million years, preventing the formation of oceans. Instead, during that lengthy time, steam remained in the air, so sunlight split the water vapor into hydrogen and oxygen. The lightweight hydrogen escaped into space, leaving Venus dry and barren forever.
See more ScienceShots.