Worlds Apart: Differences between Venus and Earth

Worlds Apart: Differences between Venus and Earth

My sisters and I may have been raised in the same home, by the same parents, but our personalities couldn’t be more different. I’m the pragmatic oldest sibling, the middle sister is enigmatic, and the youngest is dynamic.

Like human siblings, “sister planets” Earth and Venus share some features in common, but they also differ from each other. They are nearly the same size (Earth is the bigger of the two) and study indicates that, like Earth, Venus was once covered by liquid water.

But, today, these two celestial bodies possess drastically disparate environments. Earth is vibrant and teeming with biodiversity; Venus is barren and incapable of supporting life. What happened to make these “sisters” go their separate ways?

RTB astrophysicist Jeff Zweerink explains a significant factor in Venus’ hostility to life: an insufficient magnetic field. Thanks to an incredibly slow rotation rate (in Earth terms, it takes Venus approximately 243 times longer to complete a rotation), the planet’s surface is unprotected against solar winds.

Some researchers suspect that this exposure to solar winds and ultraviolet radiation is responsible for stripping Venus of the water it once held; the same fate awaits any water deposited on the planet by comets. The result? First, the second planet from the Sun is’s worst nightmare with a thick atmosphere that’s about 96.5 percent carbon dioxide. Second, surface temperatures measure at a balmy 800°F. Makes these Southern California heat waves look like winter in Michigan.

With such a hot, suffocating environment, it’s no wonder Venus would make a lousy place to live. Earth herself wouldn’t be so life-friendly either if not for the incredible fine-tuning of the universe, galaxy, solar system, and planet itself—all factors that look a lot like careful design work.

— Maureen

Resources: For more on RTB’s fine-tuning arguments for design, check out these resources.