Opinion Column: Venus and the future of Earth

During the dawns of this month, before sunrise, our sky will be embellished by the planet Venus. How can we recognize it? It will be very easy. It can be seen as a very bright white “star”. It is important to mention that, given its strong brightness, some might even confuse this bright star, at first impression, with an airplane. But, it is not like that, the origin of the unmistakable brightness of Venus in our skies is thanks to its cloud cover that intensely reflects the light of the Sun.

This planet has peculiar characteristics. For example, the length of the Venusian day is greater than the length of its “year.” The length of his day is twenty days longer than his year. By way of comparison, it is as if our earthly day, instead of lasting 24 hours, lasted more than a year. That’s how slow our day would have to be to be similar to Venus.

Another peculiar detail of this planet is that, if we could place it side by side to the Earth, in order to compare its rotation, we would immediately notice that both rotate differently. Indeed, if we look from the north pole, we would observe that the Earth rotates counterclockwise and Venus rotates clockwise. That is, it rotates backwards, compared to our planet.

On the other hand, there are characteristics with which our planet is similar to Venus: both have approximately equal size and mass.

But, there is a fundamental characteristic with which we would not like to resemble said planet: Venus has a greenhouse effect on a global scale.

Since Venus represented the goddess of beauty in ancient times, we might think that the physical characteristics of the planet’s atmosphere and surface would be those of a lost paradise of planetary origin. Nothing could be further from the truth: the clouds in its atmosphere are mostly made up of drops of sulfuric acid.

At this precise moment, Venus is going through a cruel greenhouse effect that causes the presence of very high temperatures on its surface. So high that they can melt lead. Why is this? To the presence of carbon dioxide gas in its atmosphere. Let us remember that the concentration of this gas in the Earth’s atmosphere is increasing.

Thus, beyond the beauty of a morning star at these sunrises, the planet Venus is a cruel reminder of the possible end that our planet may have. A final destination that can be changed, not only with state policies, but also with the scientific education of humanity, bearing in mind that the study of other stars can be a way of understanding and perhaps preventing a coming disaster on our planet. IGP: Science to protect us, Science to advance.