Monday, June 28, 2010


Paris, France (ESA) - These days, Earth and Venus seem completely different. Earth is a lush, clement world teeming with life, whilst Venus is hellish, its surface roasting at temperatures higher than those of a kitchen oven. But underneath it all the two planets share a number of striking similarities. They are nearly identical in size and now, thanks to ESA's Venus Express orbiter, planetary scientists are seeing other similarities too. If Venus once had oceans, it may even have begun its existence as a habitable planet similar to Earth. “The basic composition of Venus and Earth is very similar, ” says Hakan Svedhem, ESA Venus Express Project Scientist. Just how similar planetary scientists from around the world will be discussing in Aussois, France, where they are gathering this week for a conference. One difference stands out: Venus has very little water. However, billions of years ago, Venus probably had much more water.

Venus Express has certainly confirmed that the planet has lost a large quantity of water into space. It happens because ultraviolet radiation from the Sun streams into Venus' atmosphere and breaks up the water molecules into atoms: two hydrogens and one oxygen. These then escape to space. Venus Express has measured the rate of this escape and confirmed that roughly twice as much hydrogen is escaping as oxygen. It is therefore believed that water is the source of these escaping ions. “Everything points to there being large amounts of water on Venus in the past, ” says Colin Wilson, Oxford University, UK. However, not all scientists agree with this opinion; for example, Eric Chassefiere, Universite Paris-Sud, France, has developed a computer model that suggests the water was largely atmospheric and existed only during the very earliest times, when the surface of the planet was completely molten. In other words: there were no oceans in Venus, according to this researcher.

Some scientists think there was no enough water to sustain life; others think there was a lot of it. Both groups of researchers have complete confidence in the data provided by Venus Express. Why don't they trust in the Vedic knowledge? According to it, life is everywhere and each planetary system is composed of a different sound uttered by Lord Brahma.

When four-headed Brahma creates the universe, the seed ingredient is sound: “OM”. And from that “Om” the Gayatri mantra is born: In this sound, the fourteen planetary galaxies sprout like whorls of spiraling stars and planets, with the sun situated in the very center of the universe. ... Each galaxy provides the infinite jivas with their particular spheres of karma (action), dhama (religion), artha (economic development), kama (sensual enjoyment and its resultant suffering), and moksa (facility of liberation). ... Lord Brahma utters a different sound for each planetary system and his engineer, Sri Visvakarma creates the planets according to those sounds. ... In our planet, the predominating elements are earth and water. In other worlds, only water is found. On the sun, fire is the prominent element.

Śrīla Bhakti Raksaka Sridhara Mahārāja :
“The Descent of the Holy Name”
“A Gaudiya Vaisnava Perspective”
Bhaktivedanta Memorial Library

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