Millions of years ago, Venus and Earth cut similar figures. Roughly the same size and about the same distance from the sun, their respective evolutions could have followed similar paths. But today, Venus is a seething vision of Hell, its battery-acid atmosphere and incessant, hurricane-force winds masking a blistering volcanic surface. Some scientists wonder if it is a harbinger of whats in store for Earth. Thanks to the European Space Agency, Venus Express the most sophisticated satellite ever to visit the planet is orbiting Earths estranged twin, gathering the data we need to figure out why Venus went bad. Could our home planet be hurtling towards a similar fate? And could the hostile Venusian environment, now seemingly devoid of biologys most fundamental ingredient water yet harbour life?

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