Scientists now say that life on our neighboring planet – Venus, may have been a reality, even after considering the fact that Venus does not host “plate tectonics”. “Plate tectonics is often tied to habitability because Earth is habitable and has plate tectonics,” says Matthew Weller, a planetary scientist at the University of Texas at Austin, US, who presented his recent findings at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC) in The Woodlands, Texas.
He said that “Our work shows that a planet such as Venus, without plate tectonics, could have had surface temperatures over several billion years allowing for liquid water, which could allow for life.”
Weller says that the crust of Venus was not always stagnant but instead went through episodic tectonics. The tectonics came to life when the inner pressure built up to a point where there was sudden activity in the tectonics of the planet, like “plate tectonics on steroids” he says.
Weller says the active periods produces enough carbon dioxide for the surface to be warm enough to host life. Even during the early days of the solar system, when the sun was 30% dimmer, the earth was probably going through an ice age, what scientists call as “snowball earth”.
Studying Venus is hence useful to understand our own planet’s evolution and long term future. “Where Venus is now is where the Earth will be a billion or so years from now,” Weller says.