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Venus Revealed : A New Look Below the Clouds of our Mysterious Twin Planet (1997)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0201328399, Paperback)In a book that is as much romantic as purely scientific, David Harry Grinspoon combines historical perspective on the nearby planet Venus and data from recent observations, notably the Magellan spacecraft's detailed mapping of the planet's surface and gravitational field. In a lighthearted way, Grinspoon conveys the vast body of knowledge that scientists have recently acquired about the planet that is often called our "twin," despite its metal-melting surface temperatures and runaway greenhouse effect. (Could we learn something about our own climate in observing that of Venus?) In a fun though perhaps overconfident section, Grinspoon even argues that the likelihood that life once existed on Venus is as high as for Mars--an intriguing possibility, especially if evidence that life once existed on Mars becomes stronger.
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:56:11 -0400)
Early robot probes sent by Russian and American scientists had given us some tantalizing but fragmentary glimpses of the surface and atmosphere, hinting at some of the most exotic conditions seen in the solar system. Magellan showed a planet full of beautiful landscapes, some eerily familiar and some completely unexpected - a world of active volcanoes, shining mountains, and even river valleys carved by torrents of flowing lava. Venus may once have had a wet, temperate, comfortable climate, much like Earth's. What happened to turn it into a hostile, burning, acid world? Our twin has important tales to tell us regarding several of Earth's most pressing environmental problems, including ozone destruction, global warming, and acid rain. In Venus Revealed, David Grinspoon makes a compelling case for comparative planetology as an important tool for gaining knowledge that is vital for our long-term survival on our own planet. He re-examines the uniqueness of our own Earth in light of the recent Magellan findings, while also raising the provocative questions: Did a runaway greenhouse effect transform Venus into the burning oven she is today? By treating Venus as a "controlled experiment," what can we learn from her that will help us survive on Earth? Grinspoon tackles these and other long-debated questions while explaining the incredible scientific advances made possible by the Magellan space probe.
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