Life on Venus: The ‘hellish’ landscape of Venus may be uninhabitable after all

NASA visualisation shows cosmic dust ring around Venus

When you subscribe we will use the information you provide to send you these newsletters. Sometimes they’ll include recommendations for other related newsletters or services we offer. Our Privacy Notice explains more about how we use your data, and your rights. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Last year the scientific community was buzzing after a team, led by astronomers from Cardiff University, found the chemical phosphine (PH3) in the planet’s atmosphere. Earth’s atmosphere also contains minute amounts of the chemical which is thought to be produced by life.

This led scientists to the conclusion that the planet might sustain life.

Phosphine is created through a biological process which hints at microbial life on what we once thought was an uninhabitable “hellscape”.

Venus is similar in size to Earth, is painfully hot and dry. With its active volcanoes and toxic atmosphere, the planet that is contrastingly named after the Roman goddess of love looks far from inhabitable.

This exciting discovery in September 2020 has led many scientists to look into the possibility of life on Venus and what exactly that would look like.

Some astronomers, however, were sceptical of the findings.

A new research team found that the clouds in Venus are too dry for any living organisms to survive.

Dr John Hallsworth from Belfast’s School of Biological Sciences is a microbiologist and his area of expertise is specifically the reaction of living organisms to stress.

He told the BBC: “We found not only is the effective concentration of water molecules slightly below what’s needed for the most resilient microorganism on Earth, it’s more than 100 times too low. It’s almost at the bottom of the scale, and an unbridgeable distance from what life requires to be active.”

DON’T MISS

China unveils plan to put people on MARS in 2033 as race heats up [UPDATE]
‘Race and the cosmos’ University starts woke space course [INSIGHT]
New study raises possibility aliens could be watching life on Earth [REVEAL]

Prof Jane Greaves from Cardiff University, who led the original study in 2020, went on to praise Dr Hallsworth’s findings, however she is still hopeful about life on Venus.

“We spoke about this at some length last year; we know Venus’s atmosphere is extremely desiccated but what we don’t know is how well mixed it is.

“A colleague, Paul Rimmer, has a paper just out showing that some cloud droplets could have a very high water content,” she told BBC News.

With so much uncertainty and so much interest surrounding the planet, Nasa announced two missions that will learn more about the planet. They are set to launch by 2030.

In the beginning of June Nasa unveiled the two missions which have been given £352m ($500m) each to expand our understanding of the planet.

The European Space Agency (Esa) also jumped on the bandwagon and announced its mission to Venus a week after Nasa.

The Esa probe will be observing the planet and is set to leave by the end of this decade.
Source: Read Full Article