communications relay login

Life on Venus?

Is there life Jim or just a mistake?

By Chris Wilkinson Mon 21 Sep, 2020 3:13 PM - Last Updated: Mon 21 Sep, 2020 3:20 PM
When we look out at the stars and wonder what could be out there, one of the first things that can come to mind is other forms of life. Right now we’re mainly focusing on Mars where we are hoping to find bacteria, as it’s believed this is a possibility on a planet with liquid water. Europa, the smallest of Jupiter's moons, with its oceans underneath the ice, could provide areas warmer than the coldness of space, and is another target of those hoping to find signs of life in the solar system.

One of the last places anyone would have expected to find any signs of life was on the second planet of our solar system, where the surface temperature is a scalding 471 degrees Celsius (880 degrees Fahrenheit), an environment which would cause even lead to melt without much assistance and where the pressure is 90 times that of our own planet.

Recently, Phosphine was discovered in the Venusian atmosphere (specifically at 20 parts per billion) and while this may seem innocuous it is actually a significant discovery. This particular gas is known to be found on Earth (although in very small quantities) and can be created by microbes within the atmosphere. This usually happens in the absence of Oxygen, which would fit Venus quite well as its atmosphere is primarily Carbon Dioxide. If true, it could mean that there is at least some form of life in one of the most inhospitable terrestrial planets nearby. There are scientists however, which dispute this finding, pointing out that it could also be caused by a process that we do not currently understand within the planet’s natural ecology. VAMP
The conceptual Venus Atmospheric
Maneuverable Platform, or VAMP,
by Northrop Grumman and L’Garde

This cautious viewpoint is not entirely unfounded as similar results can be found in Jupiter, thanks to the hot interior of the gas giant reacting with other compounds within the atmosphere. While Venus certainly does not have the temperature or the pressure of a gas giant, it is perhaps something that cannot be ignored as well.

Since this discovery NASA has said that they will prioritize future missions to Venus to enable us to find out whether there is life on the planet, with one of missions currently being mulled over by the American space administration consisting of a robotic probe capable of exploring the atmosphere and putting itself in a better place to be able to answer the burning question we’re now left with.

Roscosmos, the state corporation of the Russian Federation responsible for space flights, cosmonautics programs, and aerospace research on the other hand, or perhaps just the bellicose head of the organization, has been a little bolder saying that Venus is a Russian planet as they are the only country to have landed on its surface. They are also currently planning a mission to the planet (in addition to one planned in cooperation with the United States) so this could lead to some answers, or perhaps a race between the two to answer the question first.

While right now it can’t be stated as a fact whether there is any life on Venus, it is something that has piqued the interest of the world and all we can do is wait for the answer from a probe or more unlikely, a visit from our neighbours.

What do you think? Is the time ripe for finally finding life in our solar system? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

WRITTEN BY Chris Wilkinson
Mon 21 Sep, 2020 3:19 PM
Great article, one thing I always wondered about the possibility of intelligent life in the universe is, would it really be what we think? Popular Culture always depicts Extraterrestrials as either, humanoid, insectoid or cephalopod. I mean what if there is intelligent life that is microbial, or gaseous, heck what if we've been visited by extraterrestrial life already and didn't even know it, it just didn't look like what we expected it to look.
Mon 21 Sep, 2020 3:23 PM
Thank you so much for this great and very interesting article! Thumbs up
Mon 21 Sep, 2020 3:26 PM
Great article Chris! This could really change the way we think about ourselves in the Universe.