Venus could be a better bet for ET than Mars - scientists

Katie Ramirez
April 3, 2018

Between 1962 and 1978, many space probes or equipment that can visit distinct places in the space to conduct scientific experiments in an attempt to find life on Venus. That is actually a very important piece of the puzzle since Venus' atmosphere is composed mostly of carbon dioxide, water droplets, and sulfuric acid. In this scheme, the approximate altitude and temperatures are shown on the left axis, the approximate pressure on the right axis, while the surface topography represents an exaggerated perspective view of Venus. These microorganisms may potentially survive by fixation of carbon dioxide through the phototrophic or chemolithotrophic oxidation of iron and sulfur compounds, and by a coupled iron-sulfur metabolism (depicted by the blue reaction scheme).

The idea of life existing high up in the clouds of Venus was first posited by Carl Sagan and Harold Morowitz in 1967 and was later suggested by Mark Bullock and David Grinspoon.

In a paper published by journal Astrobiology on Friday, planetary scientists led by Sanjay Limaye from the University of Wisconsin-Madison laid out a case for the atmosphere of Venus as a possible niche for extraterrestrial microbial life, or commonly known as alien life. The surface, however, basking in a somewhat excessive average temperature of 450 degrees Celsius (860 degrees Fahrenheit), looks decidedly uninhabitable.

"Venus shows some episodic dark, sulfuric rich patches, with contrasts up to 30-to-40 percent in the ultraviolet, and muted in longer wavelengths", Limaye said.

Researchers have said they've spotted dark patches in Venus' clouds, which have been detected by space probes and appear to resemble the light-absorbing properties of the bacteria found on earth.

Limaye and the team then suggested that there is a possibility that those dark patches on Venus could be compared to algae blooms, located in Earth's waters.

The Venus Atmospheric Maneuverable Platform, which would fly like a plane and float like a blimp, could help explore the atmosphere of Venus.

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A new study has posited the idea that microbial life could exist in Venus's clouds.

In the hunt for extraterrestrial life, planetary atmospheres other than Earth's remain largely unexplored. This part plane, part blimp vessel was created to roam the Venusian atmosphere and gather data that would help scientists understand what went wrong in Venus' past to send it down such a different path from Earth - Venus is often called our planet's twin, due to striking similarities in mass, gravity, chemistry, and general evolution (with the key difference that Venus is a boiling acid bubble).

"Such a platform could include instruments like Raman Lidar, meteorological and chemical sensors, and spectrometers".

Also, some types of microbes are capable of surviving in even more severe conditions.

It added: "Looking forward, investigations into the actual habitability of Venus' clouds would ideally benefit from a mixture of orbiter, lander, airplane/balloons, and sample return missions". "Venus could be an exciting new chapter in astrobiology exploration", Professor Mogul said.

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