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Venus Clouds might Harbour Life


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#1    Lottie

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Posted 27 May 2004 - 07:41 PM

There could be life on the planet Venus, US scientists have concluded in a report in the journal Astrobiology.  

The existence of life on the planet's oven-hot surface is unimaginable.  

But microbes could survive and reproduce, experts say, floating in the thick, cloudy atmosphere, protected by a sunscreen of sulphur compounds.

Scientists have even submitted a proposal for a Nasa space mission to sample the clouds and attempt to return any presumed Venusians to Earth.
            
                                "Venus is really a hellish place," said Professor Andrew Ingersoll, of the California Institute of Technology.  

"If you could get through the sulphuric acid clouds down to the surface of Venus you'd find it was hotter than an oven. You could melt lead at the surface of Venus and there'd be no water."

But it was not always like that. Earth and Venus are in many ways sister planets.  

"Current theories suggest that Venus and the Earth may have started out alike. There might have been a lot of water on Venus and there might have been a lot of carbon dioxide on Earth," Professor Ingersoll explained.

But all that was to change. On Earth, life in the oceans took in carbon dioxide and turned it into limestone. On Venus, 30% closer to the Sun, any oceans boiled away and the water vapour added to the runaway greenhouse effect.

Venus became our planet's ugly sister. Its make-over, which occurred billions of years ago, has left a surface where the pressure is crushing.

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#2    BurnSide

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Posted 27 May 2004 - 07:54 PM

i believe that billions of years ago there could quite easily have been a civilization on Venus, not unlike to ours. Maybe even millions of years ago, who knows. Of course, ANY physical evidence of intelligent life on earth would have simply been melted away when the planet boiled and burned.
I look at venus and can quite easily say 'that is what our planet will one day look like'.


#3    Ozmeister

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Posted 28 May 2004 - 01:42 AM

Our planet will indeed end up like Venus is now, but not for a long time yet. About 1.5-2 billion years or so......once the Sun becomes bright enough to raise the surface temp of the Earth sufficiently to boil away the water and cook the carbon dioxide out of the carbonate rocks on the planet.

The process will begin once the Sun grows 10% brighter than it is now......in about 1.1 billion years.




#4    doomgirl

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Posted 28 May 2004 - 01:53 AM

We have a little bit of Venus here on earth called Hydrothermal Vents

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In 1977, an amazing discovery was made two and a half kilometres below the surface…hydrothermal vents. These are chimney-like structures on the sea floor which develop when water seeps into cracks in the Earth's crust, and is spewed out again, super heated and containing a rich cocktail of minerals and toxic compounds.

The discovery was totally unexpected, and even more incredible was the fact that the vents supported a rich ecosystem. With microbes at the bottom of the food chain, the vents also support giant clams, tube worms and shrimp.

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#5    Ozmeister

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Posted 28 May 2004 - 01:56 AM

Not really correct doomgirl, for an example of Venus, but it maybe analogous to what may lie beneath the icy surface of Europa (one of Jupiter's four "Galilean" Moons).



#6    doomgirl

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Posted 28 May 2004 - 09:44 PM

The point of my post is, that life can live on the Hydrothermal Vents, they are super heated as well as many forms of gases are expelled there. If life can live there, then there is sure to be life on Venus  

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#7    Ozmeister

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Posted 29 May 2004 - 04:42 AM

I know what you were trying to say, however the surface of Venus is about 4 times hotter than a hydrothermal vent. However the clouds at altitudes around 80-100kms are cool enough to support life. Just that there's bugger all water.



#8    Chauncy

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Posted 29 May 2004 - 04:58 AM

There is life here on Earth that has the potential to live in the extreme environment of Venus. So the possibility is not out of the realm of nature. we just have to prove life is universal. I can't help but notice that society is knocking on that door as we speak......Wait, whats that?......the Tv is on, someones home......oh geez sounds like someones coming to the door.......
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#9    doomgirl

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Posted 29 May 2004 - 05:16 AM

When scientists are talking about life on other planets they are thinking in side the box, meaning life on earth, would something on earth be able to live on another planet.

They need to imagine what other types of life there would be; we are carbon based because the earth is, so there for, what ever life there is on Venus would be made up from its natural elements.

Life there would be suited to its environment; it would adapt like life on earth as here.


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#10    Chauncy

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Posted 29 May 2004 - 05:29 AM

QUOTE
They need to imagine what other types of life there would be; we are carbon based because the earth is, so there for, what ever life there is on Venus would be made up from its natural elements


Actually carbon is a universal compound no doubt there, so carbon based life is not restricted to Earth. Carbon has four valence electrons and makes covalent bonds, it can form molecules that are long chains. There are several different kinds of these chains: hydrocarbons, carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, and DNA. Because of the unique properties of carbon-based molecules, there is a special branch of chemistry devoted just to the study of these molecules. Organic chemistry is the study of compounds containing carbon.

I'm of the notion that life, as in carbon based, is a universal truth where as it only takes the right conditions for the right chains of carbons to amass together. So the life on Earth, and the voracity there of, would be a good indication of the varieties of life on a universal scale.

As you stated this life may be different from Earth's as a direct result of the environment in which it has adapted, but would still follow this universal life theory I believe.

Edited by Chauncy, 29 May 2004 - 05:29 AM.

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#11    Ozmeister

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Posted 29 May 2004 - 02:35 PM

You could even have silicon based lifeforms if you like. Silicon is almost as versatile as carbon in bonding with other elements and forming complex molecules....although it's still a 4:1 ratio in favour of carbon. The next best element, boron, is about 10:1 with silicon....silicon being the favoured element here.



#12    Chauncy

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Posted 29 May 2004 - 03:06 PM

What in your opinion would be some of the characteristics of a silcon or boron based life form?.....based on what we know about these compounds?

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#13    Ozmeister

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Posted 29 May 2004 - 03:46 PM

I'll have to get back to you on this later......it's late here and my brain is about to go offline grin2.gif  grin2.gif



#14    NickFun

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Posted 29 May 2004 - 04:23 PM

If there is life on Venus I would love to go there for a vacation.  Especially in the winter months when it's so cold in New England...





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