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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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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.
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