We want to go to Mars to look for life and to perhaps establish a colony there, but why would anyone want to travel to hot, gaseous Venus? Astronomers think that Venus was once just like the Earth?before it experienced its own global warming. Like Mars, Venus is our near neighbor?it’s only one planet closer to the sun than we are. If we can figure out why Venus heated up, we may be able to stop the same thing happening to the Earth.

Steve Connor writes in the Independent that the European Space Agency (ESA) is scheduled to send the first spacecraft to Venus on October 26. Unlike Bush government scientists, climatologists in Europe are greatly concerned about global warming, which will lead to the gulf stream dropping back. The gulf stream brings warm weather to Europe, especially to the UK, which would otherwise have a climate like that of Nova Scotia. Meanwhile, the US and China are mainly interested in colonizing the moon for its valuable Helium 3 fuel.

Venus is covered in clouds of sulfuric acid. It was formed at the same time as Earth, and under all those clouds is the same type of material. It is the same size and density as Earth. However, the clouds that surround Venus trap the sun?s heat before it can be reflected back into space, making the atmosphere on the planet incredibly hot. Scientists still aren?t sure what caused Venus to tip over into intense heat. One reason could be that the atmosphere on Venus is much denser. It also has an incredible number of volcanoes, belching out smoke and ash.

Venus is what is often called the “evening star” when seen in the night sky.

Art credit: http://gimp-savvy.com

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