On Venus, Cloudy With a Likelihood of Microbial Life

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In latest occasions the invention of extremophiles, micro organism that keep in nuclear reactors, scorching ocean vents and completely different unlikely areas, and of exoplanets has spurred new work and ideas about habitable planets. If Mars can have microfossils, why not Venus?

Moreover, Dr. Grinspoon said, new analysis of Venus have led to the conclusion that the planet would possibly want misplaced its oceans comparatively these days, solely 700 million years previously, allowing a great deal of time given that formation of the planet for all occasions to have developed after which escaped to the clouds.

What kind of life would that be? In 2004, Dirk Schulze-Makuch, an astronomer on the Technical Faculty Berlin, in Germany, and his colleagues suggested that microbes floating in the clouds may presumably be coated with a compound often called cyclooctasulfur that can act as a sunscreen and convert ultraviolet light into seen wavelengths for photosynthesis.

Earlier this yr, Dr. Seager and her colleagues expanded on this idea and sketched out an entire possible life cycle for such organisms. The microbes could inhabit droplets of sulfuric acid throughout the clouds, they proposed; as a result of the droplets collided and merged, more and more extra microbes may be enclosed collectively, metabolize and divide.

Lastly the drops would develop too heavy and rain down from the clouds, nevertheless they could evaporate sooner than hitting the underside, inflicting the microbes to dry out and go dormant.

Dr. Seager well-known that Venus is believed to have a layer of haze. “It’s very safe, and people don’t know what the particles there are, nevertheless they proceed to be suspended for a extremely very very long time,” she said. “So I postulated that a couple of of those particles, not all of them, nevertheless a couple of of those particles might actually be dried-out life — spores.”

These spores may be light adequate to drift once more as a lot because the clouds on currents often called gravity waves, the place they could operate seeds for model new droplets to condense spherical, restarting all the cycle.


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