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B The clouds of Venus

  1. Mar 15, 2017 #1
    I've read a number of articles (including one from Astrobiology at NASA) about the possibility of microbes living in the clouds of Venus.

    It seems that scientists believe microbes could survive there if they're not there already. I would like to see some hardy Earth-based bacteria released in those clouds. But how could we ensure that the bacteria would stay in the clouds and not get pushed down to the surface of Venus?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 15, 2017 #2


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    WHY ???
  4. Mar 15, 2017 #3
    Titan... Europa... Mars... Moon... Venus...
    Will your next thread be about "life on Mercury"? :wink:
  5. Mar 15, 2017 #4
    Just to provide some positive input, I would think this would be a major problem. Unless the bacteria literally had the mass of a molecule of gas (or could fly)
  6. Mar 15, 2017 #5
    Just do it in a lab on Earth. It is much cheaper, doesn't violate planetary protection and all conditions can be controlled.
  7. Mar 15, 2017 #6
    There's a website with that name dedicated to seeding Mercury with life. I haven't seen one for the other planets/moons.
  8. Mar 19, 2017 #7


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    That stuff is incredibly irresponsible. Every continent on Earth is suffering from 'introduced species' and we run the risk of massing up yet another possibly existing alternative ecosystem.
    Humans are sooo arrogant about this sort of thing. They ought not to be allowed out on their own.
  9. Mar 19, 2017 #8
    Ok fine. The question I was hoping to get answered is whether bacteria can permanently live in clouds.
  10. Mar 19, 2017 #9


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    I don't see why not. Dust particles stay aloft, even in the Earth's much less dense atmosphere.
  11. Mar 19, 2017 #10
    I'm sure there will be bacteria in the lower parts of the Earths atmosphere.
    Just as with other small things like pollen grains, fungus spores, and fine dust they will have got there due to winds.
    However they originate from the ground and will settle back down to the ground when wind is absent; they are heavier than the air molecules are.
    Although bacteria may be able to exist in the air for a limited amount of time, it is not the environment which they evolved in.
    Air does not contain all the necessary elements they need for growth and reproduction, the ground does.
    For Earth, that's fine, traveling through the air can be an advantage that helps things like pollen to distribute widely, but the pollen can't do it's job of spreading plant genes until it is back on the ground.
    For Venus the chances of there being any ground based life in the first place is extremely low,
  12. Mar 19, 2017 #11
    If ejecta from meteorite impacts on Mars can end up on Earth, wouldn't some ejecta from Earth end up reaching other planets ie Mars and Venus? Potentially with viable bacteria? (Worth keeping in mind should evidence of life is found on Mars, that it may have originated here, and not by recent contamination). I don't see how the conditions within Venus atmosphere would allow abiogenesis but if some hypothetical extremophile bacteria reached there they might survive. As suggested above, experiment here on Earth could give a better idea of such survivability.
  13. Mar 19, 2017 #12
    Earth has much more gravity and much more atmosphere than Mars.
    It would take a collosally big impact to dislodge chunks of the Earth and eject them out of the atmosphere and then out of Earth's gravity well.
    Dislodging bits of Mars could happen with a smaller impactor, but it would still need to be at the large end of the scale for asteroids
  14. Mar 20, 2017 #13
    That would make it a rarer event but not an impossible one. Even a rare event becomes a likely event given the time scales of solar system evolution and evidence of large meteorite impacts. I recall a claim that the first manmade object to be launched into space was a manhole cover from a nuclear weapons test; large meteorites have had energy yields far in excess of those.The survival of life on such fragments would be more problematic - I suppose bacteria are resistant to shockwaves that multicellular life could not survive but the shocks would be extreme. Heat generated from the impact would be a big problem, followed by extremes of heat, cold, vacuum and radiation in space. We still don't know how life began here on Earth or if similar suitable conditions existed on Mars; life arriving from Earth following a major meteorite impact may be a more likely source of life on Mars than a separate abiogenesis. But I don't know and don't insist on it.

    As for the clouds of Venus - I'd be more surprised at life there than Mars; just speculation on my part of a possible route for it to get there.
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