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Mentalcase

Microbes in Venus?

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Microbes Could Be in Venus Atmosphere

Reuters

LONDON (Sept. 25) - Venus, the nearest planet to Earth, is too hot to support life but American scientists believe microbes could be living in its atmosphere.

Dirk Schulze-Makuch and his colleague Louis Irwin at the University of Texas at El Paso have been studying conditions in a region of the atmosphere of the planet that has a high concentration of water droplets.

Using data from the Russian Venera space missions and the US Pioneer Venus and Magellan probes, they noticed oddities in its chemical composition that they think could be explained by the presence of microbes.

They noticed an unexpected absence of carbon monoxide and found hydrogen sulphide and sulphur dioxide, two gases which react with each other and are rarely found together unless something is producing them.

''Schulze-Makuch thinks that bugs living in the Venusian clouds could be combining sulphur dioxide with carbon monoxide and possibly hydrogen to produce either hydrogen sulphide or carbonyl sulphide in a metabolism similar to that of some early Earth bugs,'' New Scientist magazine said on Wednesday.

Other scientists are skeptical because more than tiny droplets of water are needed to support life.

But Schulze-Makuch believes the temperature of Venus was once much cooler and there could have been oceans on the planet.

''Life could have started there and retreated to stable niches once the runaway greenhouse effect began,'' he said.

Mental

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Hey there Mentalcase, interesting. It is possible that microbes have evolved and can survive in these condiitons on Venus.

It reminds of something I read a while ago about crabs and tuber worms being able to survive at the base of an oceanic volcanos, where tempa can reach several hundred degrees Celcius  :s01

Wonders will never cease as long as you never cease to wonder  ;D

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Goes along with the same thoughts about Europa (Jupiter's moon), they believe that life could exist around geothermal vents under the "frozen ocean."

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venus is a very interesting planet.  it is very earthlike in some ways, but drastically different in others.  i wonder if humanity will ever find a way to terraform it?  that would be cool.

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"...studying conditions in a region of the atmosphere of the planet that has a high concentration of water droplets."

That shouldn't be hard to find, since Venus has more water droplets than any other terrestrial planet. Still, though, you would think even the hottest planet would have some kind of life.

MC,

There are a number of experiments in Antartica where they're drilling so far into the ice(practically all the way to hell) looking for signs of life either past or present. Perhaps if life can be found under 1000 ft of ice, it would be likely to find life on Europa.

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