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The Planet Venus: Rethought, Revised, and Revisited by Bernie Bopp. Presentation to Eugene Astronomical Society January 20, 2022 – 7:00 pm – via Zoom
Many older introductory astronomy textbooks referred to the planet Venus as “the Earth’s twin” based on its similarity in size, mass, and overall rocky composition. In the first half of the 20th century, science fiction writers often portrayed Venus as a jungle planet (complete with dinosaurs…), covered by water vapor clouds – still an Earthlike twin, just more primitive. But observations in the 1960s, especially those of the Soviet Venera probes, revealed Venus as a hellish world, with surface temperatures approaching 900 F, a dense unbreathable CO2 atmosphere, and a surface pressure nearly 100 times that of Earth. Obvious questions arise: Why are conditions on these two worlds so radically different? Are landforms and geologic activity on Venus and Earth similar? Could Venus have even been “Earthlike” in the distant past?
After a hiatus of over thirty years, NASA recently announced two new Venus missions, scheduled for launch between 2028 and 2030, VERITAS (orbital radar mapper) and DAVINCI+ (descent probe through the atmosphere).
This EAS talk will give an overview of our present understanding of Venus and highlight the new spacecraft missions and the insights they will hopefully provide.
We now have a doorbell for late arrivals. If you get there late and the doors are locked, look for the doorbell to the right of the doors and give it a push. Someone will come out and let you in.