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New study claims a moon flipped Venus’s spin in the wrong direction

Published Jan 8th, 2024 5:26PM EST
Venus on background
Image: gor_Filonenko/Adobe

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Venus is quite a unique planet. Despite being known as Earth’s evil twin, the planet has some very distinct differences that help it stand out against any of the other planets in our solar system. Chief among those is the fact that it spins in the wrong direction. Now, some researchers believe they may have solved the mystery of Venus’s strange spin, and it’s all because of a moon.

The theory that an ancient moon with a backward orbit might have caused Venus’s spin to flip isn’t exactly new. However, a new study has explored the hypothesis further, with the researchers using computer simulations to test how likely it would be.

The focus of the new study, of course, is to explore whether or not the gravitational pull exerted by an ancient moon could actually change Venus’s spin, or if the theory was completely off.

DAVINCI probe entering atmosphere to explore venus
Rendering of DAVINCI probe entering atmosphere to explore Venus. Image source: NASA / YouTube

Venus’s history as a potentially habitable planet has long made it a target for scientific observations. However, its extreme temperatures and strange spin have also fueled multiple theories around the planet. And according to this study, Venus’s spin could have been flipped by an ancient moon.

It’s also possible, though, that the spin could have been changed when an ancient moon, planet, or even a comet crashed into the planet during the early days of the solar system. Unfortunately, proving the exact nature of Venus’s unique spin is almost impossible because of our limited data.

Still, it is interesting to test these kinds of theories and see just how likely it would be for them to play out. You can check out the full study for yourself if you are interested in learning more. It’s featured in the journal Universe and shares a lot of detail into how the researchers came to their findings.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.

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