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Life on Venus?

by Vinni
Tags: life, venus
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Jan22-12, 12:47 PM
P: 31
I choose this site because it displays the pictures, but the article is hitting all the news sites:

Considering extreme life does exist on earth is it possible that it does exist on Venus. After all the thick acidic cloudy atmosphere could be good a habitat for life, something like an ocean of water...

Phys.Org News Partner Astronomy news on
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Jan22-12, 01:24 PM
P: 31
On the other hand this could be a means to sell subscriptions or articles! The photos could be debris that have fallen off the space probe and their motion is caused by wind gusts.

Each article in Solar System Research will set you back $35.00.

35*...Oh let's say 50,000 curious science savy web surfers = $1,750,000.00!...
Jan22-12, 06:40 PM
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I have little faith in the integrity of sensational russian claims.

Jan22-12, 08:42 PM
P: 334
Life on Venus?

[QUOTE=Vinni;3722270]I choose this site because it displays the pictures, but the article is hitting all the news sites:

Considering extreme life does exist on earth is it possible that it does exist on Venus. After all the thick acidic cloudy atmosphere could be good a habitat for life, something like an ocean of water...


Well, Carl Sagan certainly thought life in the Venusian clouds is possible.

Life in the Clouds of Venus?
Department of Molecular Biophysics, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.
Harvard College Observatory, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

WHILE the surface conditions of Venus make the hypothesis of life there implausible, the clouds of Venus are a different story altogether. As was pointed out some years ago1, water, carbon dioxide and sunlight—the prerequisites for photosynthesis—are plentiful in the vicinity of the clouds.

Since then, good additional evidence has been provided that the clouds are composed of ice crystals at their tops2,3, and it seems likely that there are water droplets toward their bottoms4. Independent evidence for water vapour also exists5. The temperature at the cloud tops is about 210 K, and at the cloud bottoms is probably at least 260–280 K (refs. 4 and 6).

Atmospheric pressure at this temperature level is about 1 atm.7. The observed planetary albedo falls steeply in the violet and ultra-violet8, which accounts for the pale lemon yellow colour of Venus. The albedo decline would not be expected for pure ice particles, and must therefore be caused by some contaminant. Dust, ozone, C3O2 and other gases may possibly explain these data but, whatever the explanation, the ultra-violet flux below the clouds is likely to be low.

If small amounts of minerals are stirred up to the clouds from the surface, it is by no means difficult to imagine an indigenous biology in the clouds of Venus. What follows is one such speculation.

In fact, there are certain chemicals in the Venusian atmosphere that have some scientists seriously considering that they might be indicative of life in the Venusian clouds.

Life on Venus?
Jan22-12, 08:50 PM
Integral's Avatar
P: 7,318
What I saw in those pics were parts fabricated by man. Looks like the lander is falling apart. Considering the corrosive nature of the Venus atmosphere this seems rather natural. As for, here now, gone in 26 min, I would guess that the wind is strong. The atmosphere is very dense so even a low wind would be hard to resist. Some of the other "images" could be contamination of the optics system.
Jan23-12, 03:09 AM
P: 530
Check on Extremophile - Wikipedia some time. Many organisms can metabolize and grow and reproduce in environments that would quickly kill us. However, all Earth organisms need water being liquid inside of themselves to do those things.

The main problem with living in the air is avoiding sinking downward. Clouds are impermanent, despite their appearance. Their particles continually fall, and for the cloud to persist, the particles must get replenished. For water droplets or ice crystals, it's condensation from the atmosphere, and likely also condensation for Venus's clouds.

There are several approaches to flying:
  • Buoyancy. No organism is known that does that. One can nevertheless imagine an organism that has a big bubble in it that it fills with hydrogen, thus acting like a mini or micro zeppelin.
  • Gliding or parachuting. Used by some plant seeds, like dandelion and maple ones, and also by some animals, like "flying" squirrels. Some birds seek updrafts ("thermals") and glide in them to fly upward; "dynamic soaring" is a similar technique involving moving between regions of air with different speeds.
  • Powered flight. Animals have invented powered flight 4 times: birds, bats, pterosaurs, insects.
However, no organism is known that is 100% aerial. Even those that can spend much of their life in the air, like albatrosses, must land to do certain things.

So it would be hard for an organism to permanently live in Venus's clouds. The same can be said of the clouds of the outer planets, which have a similar lack of a habitable solid surface below them.
Jan23-12, 08:12 AM
P: 334
Sagan and others are referring to microbial life. In any case, we need not go to Venus to find that type of cloud-dwelling life since it is present right here on earth.

Earth's Clouds Alive With Bacteria

Clouds are alive with tiny bacteria that grab up water vapor in the atmosphere to make cloud droplets, especially at warmer temperatures, a new study shows.

Researchers find bacteria in clouds
Monday, 18 May 2009 Julie Steenhuysen Reuters

The researchers found that biological matter accounted for a third of the particles in ice crystals (Andrew Heymsfield)
Related Stories

Ice crystals plucked from clouds contain biological material, including bacteria, which play a role in the formation of clouds, say US researchers.
The finding, reported in the journal Nature Geoscience, offers the first direct evidence of airborne bacteria in clouds, they say.

Microbes Could Travel from Venus to Earth

The clouds on Venus are thought to be the planet's best bet for life because the temperatures there are cooler than at the too-hot surface, and water vapor has been detected in the atmosphere.

"The temperature and pressure there are entirely congenial to the survival of certain types of microbes," said researcher Chandra Wickramasinghe of the Cardiff Centre for Astrobiology at Cardiff University in Wales. "Microbes are known to survive in similar environments on Earth."

In particular, bacteria that have been found in extreme conditions in sulfurous hot springs on Earth would also thrive in the Venusian clouds

Wickramasinghe, writing with co-author Janaki Wickramasinghe in the June 2008 issue of the journal Astrophysics and Space Science, further suggests that these microbes could potentially be transferred from Venus to Earth by the solar wind, the stream of charged particles that is continuously ejected from the sun.

This stream is known to sometimes carry charged particles, called ions, from Venus' upper atmosphere off the planet, though no one has ever suggested it could carry heavier dust particles or microbes.

"We point out that Venus and Earth are very close in terms of proximity," Chandra Wickramasinghe told "There are occasions where Venus and Earth are aligned, which would be the best possible time for any exchange of material from Venus to Earth."


Such Venusian cloud bacteria, if indeed they exist, are hypothesized to have migrated there slowly over the eons as the planet's surface environment gradually became hostile to surface life.
Jan23-12, 03:58 PM
P: 63
Thats a nice fuzzy rock. Omg look, theyre everywhere!
Jan23-12, 11:23 PM
P: 334
Quote Quote by CosmicEye View Post
Thats a nice fuzzy rock. Omg look, theyre everywhere!

It's the same with the our moon and Mars photos where people are claiming to see cities, trees, and statues but which all look like rock outcroppings on closer inspection. Nature will display all kinds of patterns and some will resemble things that are man-made. It will also toss debris about and make it appear to move under its own power. I'm surprised they haven't focused attention that way on Titan yet.
Jan24-12, 02:09 AM
P: 530
Yes, Pareidolia - Wikipedia

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