Super-fast impacts may have made Venus an uninhabitable hellhole

Collisions with high-speed space rocks in Venus’s early history could have melted most of the planet’s mantle and driven any water into the atmosphere

Space 17 December 2021

An artistic rendering of an early, large collision on Venus. New modeling results suggest that high-speed impacts such as this could have remelted Venus? mantle, altering its planetary evolution.

Artist’s rendering of an early, large collision on Venus

Southwest Research Institute/Simone Marchi

High-speed impacts on Venus early in its history could help explain why the planet isn’t habitable today.

It remains somewhat of a mystery why Venus and Earth took such divergent paths, despite being fairly similar in size at relatively similar distances from the sun. Various explanations, such as Venus never cooling enough to condense oceans, have previously been put forward.

Simone Marchi and Raluca Rufu at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, examined a different possibility. As material swirled around …

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