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Thread: hypothetical scenarios: could the Earth exist closer to the Sun without it becoming Venus? If so..

  1. #1 hypothetical scenarios: could the Earth exist closer to the Sun without it becoming Venus? If so.. 
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    Hi all . As said in my intro, I'm here to ask a few questions (not for homework) that I was unable to find answers for in the Great Googleverse, neither did I wish to ask them in Yahoo Questions. Even though science (especially astronomy and cosmology) interests me, I've never had the chance to properly study it myself, save the programs on Discovery Science lol, so for all accounts and purposes I'm a layperson. These questions may sound ridiculously silly and newbie-ish but I hope someone has the patience and good nature to take the time to answer them.

    My questions are thus:

    1. Could the Earth exist closer to the Sun without it becoming Venus? If not, why not. But if yes, what conditions would enable this?

    2. Supposing that the Earth were indeed closer to the sun and certain conditions did exist to the extent that it did not become like Venus, and it was close enough for conditions to be markedly different yet life still be sustainable somehow or other. What would these differences be? For example: Would the effect of revolutions around the Sun be any different, and if so, to what effect?; Would the 24 clock still hold (I would assume not) and if not, how would day and night be?; Would there be vast periods of daylight and then eons of night?; How would the seasons be?; Would the elements be any different? I could go into further specifics but for now I'm just trying to get a general picture.

    Many thanks to anyone who cares to help me out.

    Last edited by etdeceaz; September 25th, 2011 at 05:45 PM.
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  3. #2  
    Forum Junior brane wave's Avatar
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    I will answer what i can about this interesting question.
    1.As venus is closer to the sun,therefore hotter climate,earth would undergo similar changes that venus went through.The water would evaporate,causing a greenhouse effect..which as you may know would increase the temperature and eventually all the surface water would evaporate.I dont see any way this could be avoided..
    2.Solving above would allow life,as we know it.It would be hotter though.
    The year(1 cycle around the sun) on venus is about 224 days,so a year would be based on that.If we had the same rotation speed we have now,then a day will still be 24 hours,and the day night cycle (it could alter,due to the increased gravitation 'pull' of the sun) The seasons would be the same,as this is due to the tilt of the earth.
    The elements would be the same,as they are the same throughout the universe.The difference would be caused by the temperature.-ie If the temperature was 100deg C,then water would not be a liquid.
    Hope this helps

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  4. #3  
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    At the orbit of Venus, Earth which is only slightly larger, would most likely have suffered the same fate as Venus for a couple reasons. 1) planets formed that close to the sun had fewer volatiles available, hence less water available to remove Co2 from the atmosphere as happened on Earth, 2) Greater solar irradiation; which both accelerated removal of the lower amount of volatiles and high enough atmospheric temperatures to create a run-away green house by boiling off the young ocean. I've never seen any models about the gravitational locking of Venus' effect on its early atmosphere, though it wouldn't surprise me if researchers like James Kasting and others haven't done that work.

    Of course that doesn't mean the Earth couldn't be closer to the sun and still be recognizable as "earth like." The sun wasn't quite a bright in it's early history and it's quite conceivable that an Earth like planet, or one even one larger, could have developed an Nitrogen-based atmosphere with a water-based hydrosphere closer to the sun.

    Earth's geology and atmosphere are also very influenced by life--as to those conditions on another hypothetical earth it's still anyone's guess.
    Last edited by Lynx_Fox; September 26th, 2011 at 12:30 PM.
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  5. #4  
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    Thank you very much brane wave and Lynx_Fox . Hope you don't mind if I ask a few more newbie questions?

    brane wave, I have an off-shoot kind of question; could you elaborate about the 224 day revolution and how it related to the 24 hour clock? How come the day/night cycle would still be the same? Is this due to the tilt of the Earth, or does that merely control the seasons?

    Lynx_Fox, so for life to thrive (or just to exist?) in such an Earth, it would have to develop in a nitrogen-based atmosphere, which would permit a water-based hydrosphere? Lol at my complete and utter ignorance of chemistry here but why would there be no oxygen?
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