The current goals of the astrobiology community are focused on developing a framework for the detection of biosignatures, or evidence thereof, on objects inside and outside of our solar system. A fundamental aspect of understanding the limits of habitable environments (surface liquid water) and detectable signatures thereof is the study of where the boundaries of such environments can occur. Such studies provide the basis for understanding how a once inhabitable planet might come to be uninhabitable. The archetype of such a planet is arguably Earth's sibling planet, Venus. Given the need to define the conditions that can rule out bio-related signatures of exoplanets, Venus provides a unique opportunity to explore the processes that led to a completely uninhabitable environment by our current definition of the term. Here we review the current state of knowledge regarding Venus, particularly in the context of remote-sensing techniques that are being or will be employed in the search for and characterization of exoplanets. We discuss candidate Venus analogs identified by the Kepler and TESS exoplanet missions and provide an update to exoplanet demographics that can be placed in the potential runaway greenhouse regime where Venus analogs are thought to reside. We list several major outstanding questions regarding the Venus environment and the relevance of those questions to understanding the atmospheres and interior structure of exoplanets. Finally, we outline the path toward a deeper analysis of our sibling planet and the synergy to exoplanetary science.
Journal of Geophysical Research (Planets)
- Pub Date:
- August 2019
- Astrophysics - Earth and Planetary Astrophysics
- 21 pages, 4 figures, accepted for publication in JGR Planets