reply to post by Devino
At first this does seem to be good evidence against Venus being a new comer to our solar system. However after a closer look at the nature of
Venus' orbital motions we find several more very odd facts.
To be honest and blunt - we only have our own solar system to look at, so determining what may or may not be "odd" about different phenomena within
it is rather difficult. As much as I am saying this to you - I'm also reminding myself, as we all have a tendency to consider things outside of our
initial expectations as "odd" - even though the phenomena of interest may be the statistical norm once we start looking into it.
By doing the math of Venus' orbital motions (i.e. retrograde rotation @243 days and synodic period (close approach with Earth) @584 days) we find
that the same side of Venus faces Earth at each close approach. This is called a tidal lock. Venus has a tidal lock with Earth similar to that of our
Moon yet Venus does this while spinning backwards. This is evidence that there was a gravitational connection between these two worlds, Venus and
Earth, at one time in the recent past.
I'm not sure how this would be evidence that Venus is somehow -alien- to our system. It would make more sense for something originating within our
own solar system to exhibit tidal locking and other such traits with other native members of the solar system. Such phenomena tend to be attributed
to having been closely related in terms of origin. It would not be expected, at all, for a planet originating within another system to exhibit these
properties. Although we don't really have much of a precedent - we cannot necessarily prove all of the planets in this system are native to it, nor
can we prove any planet as being non-native without direct observation of its capture. This means most of this discussion is predicated on
presumptions relating to the formation of the solar system and the resulting behavior of planetary bodies.
During this time I also noticed orbital alignments with that of Mercury and I suspect one could find similar alignments with the planet Mars. I
think the only way to see this in a good perspective is by using a computer animation. Could it be possible that Mercury, Earth, our Moon and Mars all
contributed to stabilizing the orbit of Venus?
It would be far more likely that the relative orbits and rotations of the planets and any mathematical/spatial relationships between them all stem
from them being developed from the same system.
It would take some truly exceptional circumstances for a rogue planet to be captured by our system and for it to assume such a spherical orbit that
form 'locked' relationships to nearby planets. I wouldn't even know where to begin drawing up a simulation for that (or how to address the
inherent logical fallacy of taking the present state of a system and working backwards to illustrate a possible course of events leading to that
I will say that there are a lot of weird things out there that don't fit too well with the present model, or require it to account for much more than
it currently does. That said - I'm not really seeing where Venus has to be an alien planet. Granted - I don't really have much to offer in a line
of answers about why Venus is the way it is; but sometimes we are so eager to have an answer to our questions that we are willing to forgo critical
analysis of an idea.
Personally, I see Venus as a better candidate for colonization than Mars. I probably sound crazy - but both planets will take a hundred years or more
to really attempt to colonize - Mars has virtually no atmosphere and would take massive amounts of work to prospectively colonize. Venus, however,
has a chemical cycle (albeit, with a startling lack of water) that could potentially be manipulated via bacteria and synchronized with
extra-terrestrial supplements (water). Potentially, a geosynch satellite array might have to provide temporary or permanent shielding from solar
winds. Plasma shielding would work very nicely for this - but would also be very difficult to employ on a planetary scale.
In either case - we need to do more research on both planets. Venus, in my opinion, holds far more value in terms of sampling and exploring another
environment. Mars is rather dry and dead unless we come across something really crazy - it's a wasteland. Venus also may prove interesting from a
geological standpoint in the theory that it lacks tectonics.
It could also be that whatever caused Venus to flip upside down or spin backwards (same difference, I suppose) interrupted the formation of a system
similar to the one that Earth uses to generate its magnetic field. It may eventually develop such a system - perhaps thousands or millions of years
in the future. Or, it could also be that the tidal effects of our moon played a huge role in establishing that system and Venus has never had the
opportunity to develop such a system.
It is also possible that the same impact that created our moon could have also created Venus. A better analysis of minerals and element distribution
would have to be done regarding both planets - but it may be that both ended up spawning from the same mass. Perhaps, very early on, another planet
collided with the early "super earth" and ended up separating the two masses. Later, the Earth met what was left of this death-planet and resulted
in the formation of the Moon.
This is especially the case if you figure that Venus "spins backward" and a collision at relatively high velocities would see the planets behave
more like a fluid than solid masses - the two would have spun together and thrown off debris spinning various directions relative to the plane of
collision - giving an explanation for our reverse-spinning and 'locked' properties of Venus, as well as giving us a potential explanation for the
Asteroid belt. Presuming these masses were large enough - debris cast inward would most likely have been absorbed by the sun and debris flung outward
would have congregated into a belt of asteroids or have been taken on as moons around the gas giants (if not absorbed by them).
Material analysis of the asteroids, rings, and moons of other planets in our system could potentially yield some interesting results regarding the
origins of the inner planets.
I am simplifying what I am envisioning in my head - and could only properly illustrate it with a simulated fluid-physics model - but I'm lacking in
that department at the moment. And - again - there's the problem of working backwards from the present state of things. It would be interesting to
see how such a sequence of events would model out, though. Wouldn't prove or disprove anything - but it would be speculatively interesting.