Venus and its cloud patterns captured by the Galileo spacecrafts, 1990 (Photo: NASA/JPL)
In this solar system, Venus is the planet most like Earth in size and density, yet at some point in planetary history they evolved very differently, creating a kind of Jekyll and Hyde scenario: Venus now has a toxic atmosphere and is the hottest planet, contrasting with habitable Earth.
Stephen Kane, a professor of planetary astrophysics at the University of California, Riverside, reveals clues that point to a possible habitable past of Venus and discusses how it might have become an environment hostile to life and the puzzling gaps in the knowledge of the planet.
The Grand Tour of the Solar System series treks to the Sun and the four inner terrestrial planets before traveling outward to the asteroid belt, four Jovian planets, and beyond. At each session, a professional astronomer explores a solar system body, presenting the latest research.
Following the talk and a question-and-answer period, Peter Plavchan, a professor of physics and astronomy at George Mason University, brings that night’s sky right into participants’ living rooms via remote control of the university observatory, weather permitting.
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