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NASA claims Venus may have been habitable for billions of years

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Geneva: In a new study, scientists make the case for how ancient Venus could have once supported life alongside oceans of liquid water, until a mysterious resurfacing event took all that away about 700 million years ago.

In 1978, NASA’s Pioneer Venus spacecraft found evidence that the planet may have once had shallow oceans on its surface. Since then, several missions have investigated the planet’s surface and atmosphere, revealing new details on how it transitioned from an “Earth-like” planet to the hot, hellish place it is today.

To see if Venus might ever have had a stable climate capable of supporting liquid water, researchers from NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in the US created a series of five simulations assuming different levels of water coverage.

In all five scenarios, they found that Venus was able to maintain stable temperatures between a maximum of about 50 degrees Celsius and a minimum of about 20 degrees Celsius for around three billion years.

Our hypothesis is that Venus may have had a stable climate for billions of years,” Michael Way, one of the study researchers, said in the statement.

“We need more missions to study Venus and get a more detailed understanding of its history and evolution,” Way said. “However, our models show that there is a real possibility that Venus could have been habitable and radically different from the Venus we see today. This opens up all kinds of implications for exoplanets found in what is called the ‘Venus Zone’, which may in fact host liquid water and temperate climates.”

Their findings were presented Sept. 20 at the Joint Meeting of the European Planetary Science Congress and the American Astronomical Society’s Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS), in Geneva.

 

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Nasa finds Chandrayaan-2 lander Vikram with help of Indian engineer

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New York: NASA has found the crash site and debris of India’s Chandrayaan-2 Vikram moon lander following a tip from an Indian space enthusiast who examined pictures of the area of the moon taken by a US orbiting camera.

The site was located by Shanmuga Subramanian, who on his own scoured the pictures taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbital Camera (LROC), NASA and Arizona State University announced on Monday confirming the find.

The first mosaic image of the likely crash site made from pictures taken by the LROC on September 17 was downloaded by several people to look for signs of the Vikram, NASA said.

One of them, Subramanian, contacted the LROC project with a positive identification of debris, it said.

Arizona State University (ASU), where the LROC project is located, said: “After receiving this tip, the LROC team confirmed the identification by comparing before and after images.”

When the images for the first mosaic were acquired on September 17, the impact point was poorly illuminated and could not easily be identified, it said.

But two image sequences were acquired on October 14 and 15, and on November 11 were better.

The November mosaic shows best the impact crater, ray and extensive debris field. The three largest pieces of debris are each about 2×2 pixels and cast a one pixel shadow.

The three largest pieces of debris are each about 2×2 pixels and casts a one pixel shadow.

The university said that based on Subramanian’s tip, the LROC team scoured the surrounding area in the new mosaics and found the impact site and the debris field.

The impact site is located at 70.8810 degree S, 22.7840 degrees E, at an elevation of 834 metres, it said.

“The debris first located by Shanmuga is about 750 metres northwest of the main crash site,” ASU said.

Vikram lost contact with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) following its launch from Chandraayan-2 moon orbiter on September 6 when it tried to make a softlanding near the moon’s south pole.

In a statement NASA said: “Despite the loss, getting that close to the surface was an amazing achievement.”

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