FromQuarkstoQuasars

Could There be Life on Venus?

FuturismApril 11th 2014
Image via NASA
Image via NASA

Looking at Venus in the present day, we see a planet with a hostile environment with no chance of life, right? Well, as it turns out, that may not be completely true…

Venus doesn’t have tectonic plates; however, around 500 million years ago, it underwent a global resurfacing. This occurred when the build up of lava underneath the crust burst through and coated most of the surface of the planet. When this global transformation happened, did it pave over evidence which would prove that ancient Venus was far more similar to Earth than we think?

As it turns out, there have been several discoveries which indicate that some of the rocks high up in the mountains of Venus traditionally form in oceans and are then pushed up into the air gradually. Ultimately, this indicates that water may have one flowed freely on the surface of Venus. Not only are there indications that water once existed on the planet, Venus also has lightning. Speeding winds on the planet agitate the planet’s clouds of sulfuric acid. This causes acid drops to rub together and form positive and negative charges, and from this we get lightning.

So with water and lightning on Venus, could there have once been life? Could the lightning have kick started evolution once upon a time? It’s quite an amazing thought.

But that’s Venus’ past, what about now? There have been ultraviolet images taken of Venus, but results show interruptions in the atmosphere. These interruptions could be caused by microbes living in the atmosphere of Venus. Of course, the atmosphere of Venus is bone crushing. Ultimately, because the clouds are so thick, someone standing on the surface of the planet would experience air that is about 90 times heavier than Earth’s atmosphere (pressures that are similar to diving 3,000 feet beneath the ocean). Moreover, due to the intense pressure, the temperature is about 500 degrees C (932 degrees F). All of this is true, but let me use an example from Earth to illustrate the possibility of life on Venus: There is a microscopic red algae called “Cyanidium caldarium;“this thrives in acidic hot temperatures; it can survive in just carbon dioxide alone, and it survives in temperatures above boiling point. So if we look in the upper atmosphere of Venus, there the temperature is significantly less. Meaning that the pressure is less, and so the temperature is less, so it would be ideal conditions for microbes to live. They could have ended up there when the oceans evaporated, and then lived off the water vapour in the clouds.

Venus seems like it was just doomed to wither and die, then to add insult to injury, just sit and bitterly watch Earth flourish. But even though it’s only speculation, I think it’s viable that our evil twin is still hanging on to some of its former glory.

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