General, Research, Technology

Is there life in the clouds of Venus?

When it comes to finding life in the Solarastronomers usually look to Mars or the ice-covered moons of Jupiter and Saturn. But according to the results of a new study, in order to find extraterrestrial life, we may need to pay attention to our closest neighbor - Venus. An international team of researchers suggests that the dense atmosphere of Venus can serve as a potential refuge for microbial life. According to the researchers, they not only provided numerous evidence that extreme forms of life can live in Venusian clouds, but also showed that life on Venus can help explain the changing appearance of clouds on the planet. Let me remind you that this mystery haunts astronomers for almost a century.

Venus toxic clouds are not necessarily lifeless

Infernal planet

One of the first to talk about life inatmosphere of Venus, was an astronomer and popularizer of science Carl Sagan. In 1993, he co-authored a scientific article on this subject and was indignant that most astronomers do not see Venus as a potentially inhabited planet. This is primarily due to the fact that the surface of Venus - to put it mildly - is not hospitable to life, since the temperature on it exceeds 450 ° C, and the pressure on the surface is about 90 times greater than on Earth. But even though Venus is a real hell today, it once resembled our house.

As the authors write in the official press releasearticle published March 30 in the journal Astrobiology, Venus had enough time for life to develop on her own. Previous research has shown that liquid water and a livable climate could once exist on Venus. for as much as 2 billion years. And this is much longer than expected on Mars.

Perhaps in the past, Venus was like Earth

See also: Scientists are finding out how and where tardigrades might have come from

University team of astronomersWisconsin-Madison believes that earth-like conditions would allow life to initially form on the surface of Venus before eventually moving to permanent residence in the Venusian clouds. Although this scenario may seem unlikely, on Earth microorganisms, such as bacteria, can rise high into the atmosphere. In fact, researchers from NASA, using specialized research balloons, discovered microorganisms that can survive at an altitude of 41 kilometers above the Earth's surface.

In addition, as noted in their workastronomers, space probes sent to Venus from 1962 to 1978, showed that although the surface of Venus is not favorable for life, its atmosphere may well turn out to be. At an altitude of 40 to 60 kilometers, the temperature of the atmosphere of Venus ranges from about 30 ° C to 70 ° C, and the pressure is almost the same as at sea level on our own planet. On the other hand, sulfur-saturated Venusian air is quite toxic - at least for most known life forms.

To keep abreast of the latest scientific discoveries, subscribe to our news channel in Telegram

Tardigrades - a type of microscopic invertebrate close to arthropods

Over the years of observation, scientists made up a largea catalog of microbes that can survive and thrive in incredibly harsh conditions. One of these organisms is tardigrades - microscopic creatures that can survive almost anywhere, at first glance unsuitable for life. Even in space, however, no more than 10 days. So maybe these creatures live in the Venusian clouds? Scientists believe that this is unlikely, but possible. Some life forms on Earth thrive on carbon dioxide and producing sulfuric acid. The atmosphere of Venus is mainly composed of carbon dioxide and water containing a lot of sulfuric acid. This means that toxic clouds are not necessarily lifeless. About how Venus turned into a hellish planet, read in the material of my colleague Ramis Ganiev.

But the most important thing, perhaps, isthat the physical and chemical conditions in the atmosphere of Venus allow microorganisms not only to exist, but also to contribute to the ever-changing appearance of the clouds of the planet.

Researchers also note that, based onprevious spectroscopic observations, dark spots on Venus are composed of particles of almost the same size and shape as some light-absorbing bacteria found by the Earth. This means that atmospheric spots on Venus can be living colonies of microorganisms, similar to blooming algae, which are usually found in large bodies of water on Earth. However, until now, all the instruments used for sampling the atmosphere of Venus have been unable to distinguish between inorganic and organic compounds. Read even more fascinating articles about life on other planets on our channel in Yandex.Zen. There are regularly published articles that are not on the site.

So for now, it seems the question of whether there is lifein the clouds of Venus, remains unanswered. Indeed, to find out whether this infernal planet is inhabited, you need to go there and study the composition of toxic clouds. One way or another, this hot planet could be an exciting new chapter in astrobiological research.