Below Venus's toxic clouds of sulfuric acid is an apocalyptic world, with temperatures hot enough to melt lead and pressures that could crush heavy machinery. But it might not always have been so.


In 2016 Michael Way of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and his colleagues applied the first three-dimensional climate model to early Venus. They found it could once have been so temperate that liquid water pooled in vast oceans—the key to life as we know it. Now Way and Anthony Del Genio, also at Goddard, have developed a framework for the planet's evolution based on more complex data that incorporates various topographies and different amounts of sunlight. Their study, published in May in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, puts forward a new explanation for how Venus could have remained habitable for nearly three billion years before morphing into today's blistering hellscape.

To read more, click here.