The ancient tribe sat in the early morning looking eastwards. There, before the Sun rises, was the bright beauty of Venus. Transfixed, they thought of all the stories they would tell around the fire. Then they would relate its breath-taking scenery, the wonder of its fortunate inhabitants and the lushness of its vegetation. To them that Queen of the Morning was a fabled place incomparable in their imagination. What a vision of heaven!
On 15 December 1970, the Soviet probe Venera 7 landed on Venus. It found the surface to be warm enough to melt lead with winds of 225 mph. Worse still, the atmosphere was 90 times the pressure on Earth. It died after 23 minutes in a rain of Sulphuric Acid. What a vision of Hell?
But why should a planet so similar to our own, even if closer to the Sun, be so different. Scientists have the answer – runaway global warming.
Will our Earth’s beauty one day also only be skin deep?