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Space Science

Venus' Stop/Start History Highlighted By Probe 69

Posted by Zonk
from the you've-got-a-little-acidic-atmosphere-on-you dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Science Daily reports on scientific findings from the ESA's Venus Express probe. The device, which is even now orbiting Earth's sister planet, is feeding back data hinting at Venus' origins. Initially, the probe has found, the planet evolved far too quickly. As a result Venus' liquid oceans were boiled away. With those gone, the planet's development stalled and ceased. 'They may have started out looking very much the same,' said Professor Taylor, 'but increasingly we have evidence that Venus lost most of its water and Earth lost most of its atmospheric carbon dioxide ... The interesting thing is that the physics is the same in both cases. The great achievement of Venus Express is that it is putting the climatic behaviour of both planets into a common framework of understanding.'"
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Venus' Stop/Start History Highlighted By Probe

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  • The words "probe" and "uranius" have now been officially put together in one post, and the subject need not come up again.Please mod this post down.


    I Am the Cheese: Taking one for the team since 2008.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Scientists renamed Uranus years ago to rid the earth of that stupid joke once and for all. Now it's called Urectum! Probes also work with Urectum.
  • Spinning iron core (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Iamthecheese (1264298) on Sunday April 06, 2008 @04:35AM (#22978396)
    relevent [groupsrv.com]
    • by AP31R0N (723649)
      If Venus doesn't have a spinning core, we could just drill down and set off some nukes to jump start it again!
  • Yeah, right. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Sunday April 06, 2008 @04:47AM (#22978420)
    To say that this puts "the climatic behaviour of both planets into a common framework of understanding" is gross exaggeration to the point of being just so much hogwash.

    First, we do not even understand Earth's climate very well yet. And we live there. Duh.

    Second, the two planets are at vastly disparate distances from the sun. Extrapolation from one to the other -- even today -- could be dangerous to one's career.

    Add the fact that we know that they are geologically and chemically different. And there are more points I could make if I wanted to take the time.

    You end up with one hell of a lot less real "comparison" or "similarity" than this implies. Even if all the assumptions about Venus were correct (extremely unlikely), we haven't even figured out how our own planet works yet, so I don't see how anyone could pretend to be predicting how climates have / had changed over the last couple of thousand years on Venus. I will stop short of calling this complete bullshit, but to say that I am skeptical is an understatement.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Hal_Porter (817932)
      Do you work for Big Oil by any chance? Look it's - simple CO2 causes global warming. Clearly the Venusians had a Republican government that allowed people to use air conditioners, private jets and cars and that caused the planet to die. This peer reviewed science shows everyone must be forced to either return to an Amist lifestyle or buy carbon credits and that will solve the problem.
    • Re:Yeah, right. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by osu-neko (2604) on Sunday April 06, 2008 @05:34AM (#22978522)

      To say that this puts "the climatic behaviour of both planets into a common framework of understanding" is gross exaggeration to the point of being just so much hogwash.

      Actually, it is hogwash, but only because of the wildly silly implication that they ever weren't in a common framework of understanding. The laws of physics are the same there are they are here. The same chemicals in the same conditions don't magically behave differently because it's a different planet.

      • Re:Yeah, right. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Sunday April 06, 2008 @09:11AM (#22979266) Homepage Journal
        ``Actually, it is hogwash, but only because of the wildly silly implication that they ever weren't in a common framework of understanding.''

        That was my first though, as well.

        However, there is a qualification to make. Namely, it depends on the scope of the framework. If you make the scope large enough, _everything_ falls within it, but it will also make the framewore insanely complex and difficult to work with.

        In practice, we use simplifications. And this is where the scope of the framework becomes important. Because the simplifications, while technically wrong, can still give useful results. For example, simply adding velocities works well, as long as the velocities are much smaller than the speed of light. Hydrogen is not always gaseous, but good results can be gotten under most circumstances by assuming that it is. Or even by assuming that it is an ideal gas. And so on. So, depending on the specific assumptions you make, your framework may be more or less widely applicable.

        What is interesting about a common framework that correctly predicts events on both Earth and Venus is that it tests cases that may not have been tested before. Some conditions may be so common on Earth that the behavior they elicit is taken for granted by Earth-based scientists. On Venus, these circumstances may not be present. This will test our theories under circumstances we may never have thought of. This, in turn, may lead to better understanding.
        • by Teancum (67324)
          It is important to remember that when you start out on a scientific study, that you should be open to changing your mind and even world view based upon the results of that scientific experiment and study.

          I have had that happen a number of times with several different things I've studied and the results didn't quite go with what I though was originally going to happen. Or when I've read papers and studies about topics that have brought new understanding... often deeper understanding... to a scientific disci
          • by Socguy (933973)

            My problem with most global warming advocates is that they take a single parameter, CO2 production by anthroprogenic sources and turn that into the dominating variable where there are a great many other things to describe that causes the effects.

            And the problem I have with climate change skeptics is that they try to delay/deny/confuse and otherwise downplay the issue of man-made CO2, (and by extension: real action) by (correctly) pointing to the fact that there are other factors, both natural and anthropogenic, involved in climate change. Unfortunately, this observation is often used as a distraction technique designed to downplay and obfuscate our CO2 problem.

            There are a great many uneducated people on both sides of climate change. When folks

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        The laws of physics are the same there are they are here. The same chemicals in the same conditions don't magically behave differently because it's a different planet.

        Individual chemicals, no. But entire systems can be night and day from each other. As others have pointed out here, we don't even have the first clue as to how Earth's environment works, what with self-regulating feedback systems and all.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by billyj (908794)
      How is the parent insighful? Theories are always approximations, full understanding simply does not exist. Newtonian physics could be said that it did not explain gravity very well. Yet, it was able to explain a vast number of phenomena. And saying that we cannot put the two planets on the same framework due to their distance from the Sun is like saying that we cannot understand weather in the Antarctic because of the temperature difference. Nuff said...
      • It's insightful because it provides insight into the fact that the statements regarding the history of Venus were pulled out of someone's nether regions.

        Very little understanding of Venus exists; full understanding wasn't even on the table. Your assertion that we shouldn't deride the "findings" because the findings are just a "theory" show why there are so many people who subscribe to the religion of Scientism without understanding the underlying tenets of science.

        The "theory" catchall is always trotted ou
        • by moxley (895517)
          Great post. I wish I had some mod points left.

          So many of the statements about Venus (and Mars for that matter as well) have been inaccurate; at times it seems deliberately or recklessly so.

          SO much of what NASA has done has been awful and has led people away from science; things like colorizing shots of Mars to make the climate of planet look more red and hostle than it is for instance.

          The American people were sold a bill of goods when it was "given" NASA....We did not get what we were supposed to get, and w
      • I am on the side of Vidar Leathershod here, even if his name did come straight out of WOW. :o)

        Theories should not try to predict more than their foundations would support. That is what this article is apparently trying to do, and I was just pointing it out.
      • by khallow (566160)
        There are two obstacles to a common framework. First, the near absence of any information both about Venus's day to day weather and of its geology. Second, I doubt we understand how the Moon, particularly its formulation could have influenced Earth's climate and history.
    • Another huge difference is the the Earth has a companion that puts significant stresses on the crust and atmosphere through tidal forces. Not only that, but Venus' slower rotational period means there's less stress from solar tides as well. Surely this would have some effect on the rigidity of the crust, yes no?
    • Venus is about 70% the distance of Earth to the Sun. This means that Venus is receiving proportionally more energy, as based on the inverse square law. This works out to be about twice as much energy as that of Earth. Then you account for things like albedo, etc.

      This doubled energy input probably is a really huge factor to the whole problem.

      • by Teancum (67324)
        The question here is by what impact the solar input had upon the development of the Venusian oceans, not to mention a lack of a stabilizing lunar influence and an odd planetary rotation rate.

        Could the Earth have become just like Venus if it weren't for the development of life? What has been the impact of living systems upon this environment as well? Certainly epochs of high CO2 levels in the Earths past resulted in periods like the Carboniferous era when most of the coal deposits were laid down. Could li
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      Extrapolation from one to the other -- even today -- could be dangerous to one's career. Quite the opposite. Coming up with ridiculous, unprovable claims about the weather is a resume enhancer nowadays. And if you can come up with inventive ways to cripple or destroy world economies as a result of those fantasy crises, well hell!, they'll give you a Nobel Peace Prize!
  • by sleeponthemic (1253494) on Sunday April 06, 2008 @05:13AM (#22978480) Homepage
    Venus overspent its budget? Would explain one or two things.
    • Venus overspent its budget? Would explain one or two things.
      Yes, 3000 years ago instead of fixing the budget shortfall by cutting taxes and spending more on the military, they actually managed their spending - resulting in complete destruction of the planet's atmosphere
      The lesson is once your budget is overspent the only fix is to borrow more, spend more, and get bigger nukes or our planet is doomed.... DOOOMED!!
  • by G3ckoG33k (647276) on Sunday April 06, 2008 @05:15AM (#22978484)
    Does this mean Global Warming discussions will be replaced by Global Boiling? Even greater headlines!
  • evolve (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Something can't evolve too quickly. "Too Quickly" is not compatible with the concept of evolution.
    • There is an implicit "to develop an atmosphere that might have been conducive to creating life" after the "too quickly."

      Besides, is geo-planetary change really "evolution?"
  • ...increasingly we have evidence that Venus lost most of its water and Earth lost most of its atmospheric carbon dioxide...

    I blame the Solar-System economy, Free-Trade agreements and open borders. If only the planets were farther apart or someone had built a fence... (Ya, I'm talking to you Mars.)

  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Sunday April 06, 2008 @02:22PM (#22981270) Homepage Journal

    the planet evolved far too quickly


    Well, from a Venusian's perspective, the Earth evolved far too much. Leaving all those tepid sticky areas out beyond the Sun's cleansing rays has left the Earth to rot, infested with all kinds of vermin. Some of which just dirty the place up even more, and then get nosy, ogling the neighbors and insulting their tidy nearby neighborhoods.

    That review of Venus was clearly written by an Earthling real estate agent.
  • by theolein (316044) on Sunday April 06, 2008 @03:27PM (#22981770) Journal
    One thing that has always bothered me is the question as to why Venus rotates in a retrograde manner (east to west) around its own axis. My personal idea, from the little amount of very inconclusive data available on this on the web, is that there must have been some cataclysmic collision early in Venus' history. One wonders if Venus had had a normal, and faster rotation, if it would have developed differently?
    • The late stages of rocky planet formation are now known to be extremely violent, involving collisions of mars-sized bodies in the final accretion of a body the size of Earth or Venus. The exact collision vector can have a huge impact on the final body's rotational inertia, and can even heave a planet-sized hunk of debris like our own Moon into orbit.
  • Typical Earth-centric chauvanism. Venus isn't developmentally challenged, it *meant* to turn out that way.
  • Perfect example of the benefits of space exploration in understanding our own planet.
  • To its [rare] credit most NASA probes post their raw and processed data on the web almost immediately. There are over 200,000 Mars Rover pictures. ESA posts little of its data and mostly these are for press releases. "Out of sight, out of mind"

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