Venus once had oceans made of carbon dioxide, researchers say. According to a study, unlike Earth’s water-filled oceans Venus consisted of a liquid-like form of co2 that may have helped shape the planet’s surface.

Venus is similar to Earth because of size, mass, distance and chemical makeup. However the planet is described as “hellish”, having been described as unbearably hot and dry, with clouds of corrosive sulfuric acid floating over a rocky desert surface hot enough to melt lead.

Though not inhabitable, Venus once had enough water in its atmosphere to cover the planet in an 80 feet deep ocean. However Venus was probably too warm for the water to turn into rain, even if the planet did have enough moisture.

Dima Bolmatov, a theoretical physicist at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York stated, “Presently, the atmosphere of Venus is mostly carbon dioxide, 96.5 percent by volume.”

Besides Venus’ ocean being made of carbon dioxide, it may have had “a bubble of gas that is covered by a thick layer of liquid.”

So Venus “looked like soap bubbles.”

He further explained that million of years ago, the combining of the hot weather and atmospheric pressure produced a “supercritical” state capable of dissolving materials like a liquid but flow like gas.

“The atmospheric pressure on the surface of Venus is currently more than 90 times that of Earth, but in the early days of the planet, Venus’ surface pressure could have been dozens of times greater. This could have lasted over a relatively long time period of 100 million to 200 million years. Under such conditions, supercritical carbon dioxide with liquidlike behavior might have formed.”

“This in turn makes it plausible that geological features on Venus like rift valleys and riverlike beds are the fingerprints of near-surface activity of liquidlike supercritical carbon dioxide,” said Bolmatov.

Bolmatov and his colleagues at Cornell University hope to conduct experiments to detect this shift from gaslike to liquidlike properties in supercritical carbon dioxide.

Venus was once an ocean of carbon dioxide. With NASA considering building a cloud city above Venus, the future of space is pretty exciting.

[photo credit: earthhopper via photopin cc]