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Could there be life in the clouds of Venus ?


Posted on Sunday, 1 April, 2018 | Comment icon 7 comments

NASA has considered using airships to explore the atmosphere of Venus. Image Credit: NASA
A new paper has put forward the suggestion that the clouds of Venus could be a habitat for microbial life.
With surface temperatures exceeding 860 degrees and crushing atmospheric pressures that are more than 100 times those found on the Earth, the conditions on Venus are undeniably hellish.

The idea that life could survive on Venus, therefore, might seem preposterous, but there is one part of the planet that could still be a viable habitat for primitive life forms - its atmosphere.

In a new paper, researchers have outlined the possibility that the cloudy, reflective and highly acidic atmosphere of Venus could be a viable place to look for extraterrestrial microbes.

Comparisons have been drawn to the discovery of microbes in our own planet's atmosphere as well as to life forms that are known to thrive in the acidic conditions found in some underground caverns.

"On Earth, we know that life can thrive in very acidic conditions, can feed on carbon dioxide, and produce sulfuric acid," said biological chemist Rakesh Mogul.

Unexplained dark streaks that have long been observed in the atmosphere of Venus could be something akin to the algae blooms found here on Earth, the researchers argue.

"Those dark patches have been a mystery since they were first observed by ground-based telescopes nearly a century ago," said study leader Sanjay Limaye of the University of Wisconsin.

Could it be that evidence of extraterrestrial life has been staring us in the face for years ?

"Venus has had plenty of time to evolve life on its own," said Limaye.

Source: EarthSky.org | Comments (7)

Tags: Venus, Clouds

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by fred_mc on 1 April, 2018, 13:57
It's not a new theory. It has been theorized for years that there may be life in the clouds of Venus. Anyway, it is a quite interesting theory I think.
Comment icon #2 Posted by Woodwose on 1 April, 2018, 14:45
*Hypothesis, and you're right it's been suggested before. It would be very interesting as to how the life got there, maybe forming in the same way as on earth when Venus was younger and more temperate then being gradually forced higher and higher into the atmosphere as the planet became inhospitable. Would be fascinating either way, imagine some photo synthetic -or Chemosynthetic-plant/animal floating around in the clouds like a dandelion seed...
Comment icon #3 Posted by paperdyer on 2 April, 2018, 16:46
For our "sister" planet, Venus is quite inhospitable. Hopefully there is only bacteria in the clouds and not something like the creature in the old Outer Limits with Bill Shatner.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Jon the frog on 5 April, 2018, 16:39
Not a lot of data on Venus... Russia got some picture of the surface but not more. Life in cloud maybe but life in the soil ? Bacteria were found miles down in earth crust, why not there?
Comment icon #5 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 5 April, 2018, 19:09
Because the surface of Venus is hot enough to melt tin and lead. Bacteria simply can not exist at those temperatures.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Jon the frog on 5 April, 2018, 22:30
Don't know if it was always like that....there was some water a while ago before it was boiled from the surface. Do you think 5 miles deep it's the same ? Some bacteria lives deep here in the earth crust, If there was life On Venus or Mars maybe some still there deep in the rock. https://www.astrobio.net/extreme-life/life-might-thrive-dozen-miles-beneath-earths-surface/ https://www.livescience.com/29857-microbes-discovered-in-earths-crust.html
Comment icon #7 Posted by quiXilver on 6 April, 2018, 4:08
Perhaps a cousin of the tardigrade could survive in those clouds.


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