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Did a Rogue Moon Alter Venus’s Rotation? Exploring the Fascinating Possibility

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As it sped away from Venus, NASA's Mariner 10 spacecraft captured this seemingly peaceful view of a planet the size of Earth, wrapped in a dense, global cloud layer. But, contrary to its serene appearance, the clouded globe of Venus is a world of intense heat, crushing atmospheric pressure and clouds of corrosive acid.

Venus spins in the opposite direction to all of the other planets in the solar system

NASA/JPL-Caltech

Venus rotates in the opposite direction to the other planets in the solar system, and astronomers aren’t sure why – but it may have been caused by the drag of an ancient moon in a backwards orbit.

The early solar system was a chaotic place, with rocks hurtling around at extraordinary speeds. Valeri Makarov at the United States Naval Observatory in Washington DC and Alexey Goldin at Teza Technologies in Chicago performed a series…

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