For a long time now scientists have been searching for signs of life outside earth. Plans to colonise Mars are already underway but now scientists are looking at a planet closer to us even than Mars: Venus.
Venus’ atmosphere has not been thought fit for life before. But recent research suggests that microbial life can survive for eons aloft in Venusian vapours. Temperatures on Venus can go up to around 800 degrees Fahrenheit but there are few layers of its atmosphere that are not the same.
NASA has even proposed an idea of creating a kind of cloud city by sending an instrument that can hang at an altitude of around 30 miles. The conditions in that layer here are considered to be similar to those on Earth’s surface. It has also been previously suggested that after Earth only Venus’ atmosphere is the most habitable place in the solar system due to the pressure and temperature that are in the range we are used to.
However, the problems are that Venus has no breathable air and lots of sulfuric acid in the atmosphere, which hampers the functioning of respiratory systems and other vitals. A few years ago, researchers suggested that strange patterns were observed when looking at Venus which could be explained by something like an algae or a bacteria in the atmosphere.
Now, a new research by leading astronomer Sara Seager at MIT visualizes what the life cycle above Venus might be.
Seager and her colleagues suggest that the ‘microbes above Venus can only survive inside liquid droplets. However, these droplets do not stay still as they grow large enough for the gravity to take over’. The paper summarises, ‘We propose for the first time that the only way life can survive indefinitely is with a life cycle that involves microbial life drying out as liquid droplets evaporate during settling, with the small desiccated ‘spores’ halting at, and partially populating, the Venus atmosphere stagnant lower haze layer’.
On its end, NASA is considering a mission dubbed Veritas to study Venus and its clouds.
Venus, Atmosphere, Earth
World news – US – Along With Mars, Researchers Are Looking For Signs Of Life On Venus, Earth’s Closest Neighbour