Despite the terrifying conditions we would be exposed to should we land on Venus's surface today, there was apparently a time when the planet might have been habitable.
As the human race continues to do damage to Earth, it seems more and more likely that we'll one day have to find another planet to call home. That's one of the reasons why the quest to venture deeper into space continues to ramp up. Humankind is incredibly eager to reach Mars as soon as possible, probably so we can start weighing up whether it would be possible to live there.
If we are going to find a planet that can sustain life, it makes sense to head further away from the sun. Any closer to our solar system's star and the temperature will become far too hot for us to survive. The surface of Venus, in particular, is effectively like what most of us would imagine hell to be like. Its atmosphere and proximity to the sun means the surface can reach temperatures of up to 864 degrees.
Since Venus is so close to the sun, scientists have always assumed it could never have had water on its surface. However, that belief may have now been shattered, reports CNN. A study made up of climate simulations of Venus's past revealed that for three billion of its 4.5 billion year existence, its surface was likely covered in oceans and its atmosphere would have been suitable to support life.
So what changed? Well, that's the part we're still not sure about. The assumption is that an event which took place roughly 750 million years ago changed everything. Whatever happened led to carbon dioxide being released from rocks on the planet's surface. In turn, that led to the continuous greenhouse effect the planet experiences today. The atmosphere thickened, the temperature rose, and the oceans were filled in.
Sadly, that means the human race is 750 million years too late to being able to skip Earth and call Venus home instead. Then again, we had no need to leave our own planet that long ago. Plus, if we had, we might have been on Venus when whatever the catastrophic event which changed it forever took place. Whatever it was, it sounds as if it would have been a pretty unpleasant end.