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Meeting Location and Dates

Out of an abundance of caution regarding COVID-19, the Ancient Venus Conference conveners have opted to move the conference to fully virtual. The conference dates remain as July 25-26, 2022.

Purpose and Scope

As a prelude to the flotilla of spacecraft that will target Venus in the next decade, the LPI’s Venus Science Initiative aims to consolidate our understanding of that veiled planet, explore new hypotheses from the data in hand, and encourage innovative ways to exploit measurements from upcoming spacecraft. Venus’ origin and history remain enigmatic — current data appear inadequate or of insufficient precision to provide unambiguous answers to many fundamental questions, including how Venus formed and whether it ever had oceans and/or habitable environments. The high temperature of Venus’ surface allows rapid reactions between the planet and the atmosphere, implying system-level feedbacks among its atmosphere, surface, and interior. Further, Venus is our best local example of other terrestrial exoplanets, permitting a stronger understanding of other solar systems and their formation processes. In this Initiative of four conferences, we will address these and other questions about Venus and provide a forum for scientific anticipation of coming spacecraft data.

Ancient Venus Conference: Objectives
Venus is now shrouded in a thick, hot greenhouse atmosphere — what was Venus before the greenhouse, or has it always been this way? As Venus aged, how have the exchanges among its interior, surface, and atmosphere changed, and how did each of these reservoirs evolve?

Thematically, the conference will focus on four main topics, while cementing the discussion around our knowledge of ancient Venus:

  1. Accretion history of Venus
  2. Evolution of the volatile inventory and climate on Venus
  3. Habitability of ancient Venus
  4. Geodynamics and surface processes through time

In this conference, we will address questions such as:

What is the accretion history of Venus compared to the other terrestrial planets?
Recent models of solar system formation put a strong focus on reproducing Earth and Mars, but Venus also plays an important role. Due to their similar size, many terrestrial planet formation scenarios predict common origins for Earth and Venus, but can this be made consistent with their current differences (e.g., spin state, moon, tectonic regime, geodynamo, volatile budget)?

How did Venus acquire its budget of volatile elements?
There have been considerable advances in our knowledge of how Earth and Mars acquired their volatile elements (CHNOPS, noble gases). Recent studies show that solar gas, water-rich meteorites, and comets contributed to those planets. What about Venus? Did this initial mixture of volatile elements play a role in the geological history of this planet? Does a moderate change in the insolation of the planet really lead to a significant divergence in atmospheric/oceanic evolution?

What evidence of an ancient Venus might remain, and what does the geodynamic and surface history of Venus say about its earliest eras?
The most ancient terrains on Venus, tesserae, have been likened to Earth’s continents. However, their composition, ages, and formation are still open questions. Evidence of fluvial and chemical weathering has been proposed, indicating very different past climate conditions. Other questions include: Will Venusian “cratons” ever be identified? Is it possible that the few large impact craters have exposed deep mantle rocks? Is all active volcanism on Venus deeply sourced like hotspots on Earth (e.g., OIBs), or are there locations with active volcanism representing shallow mantle reservoirs (e.g., MORBs)?

Could life have developed on early Venus, and how might it have adapted to the changing environment?
Were conditions at Venus’ early surface conducive to the evolution of life, as was the Earth’s early surface? How might those conditions have evolved, and what effects might they have had in the evolution of Venus life? How might ancient Venusian life have migrated to and become established in Venus’ clouds?

Code of Conduct

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