With extreme temperatures, hurricane winds, and intense volcanic activity, Venus seems to be the last place to look for life in the solar system, but a new study suggests it could still exist in the planet’s acidic clouds.
The second planet from the Sun is often called Earth’s “sister” due to its similar size, mass, and density, but that’s where the similarities end. Venus can reach temperatures of 464° Celsius (or 867° Fahrenheit) unlike Earth’s. Its atmosphere is largely made up heat-trapping carbon dioxide. It had oceans in the past that could’ve potentially held life, but all that water evaporated.
However, even though it seems impossible from the surface, there may still be life beneath the cloud of sulfuric acid, which shroud Venus. According to Monday’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences publication, this study suggests that they could prove to be more habitable than previously thought.
Sara Seager from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was the leader of this team. She is an astrophysicist/planetary scientist and has created a chemical simulation of Venusian atmospheric conditions. “predicts that the clouds are not entirely made of sulfuric acid, but are partially composed of ammonium salt slurries, which may be the result of biological production of ammonia in cloud droplets.”
The clouds therefore are “no more acidic”It was not possible to find life in extreme places on Earth. The paper had other ideas.
It is vital for many biological processes. The presence of ammonia in cloud droplets could indicate that “life could be making its own environment on Venus,”According to scientists,
“This study is suggesting that there is ammonia in the atmosphere and this chain of chemical reactions is actually happening,”Inverse was told by Seager. “And a really nice consequence of that is that some of the cloud droplets on Venus would be more habitable than previously thought.”
Seager was among the researchers who suggested the presence of phosphine – another “bio-signature” gas – in the clouds on Venus in 2020, and the current study is the continuation of that work.
She pointed out, however, that habitability in Venusian atmospheric is a speculation at the moment. “in the very far future… we can try to bring a sample of the cloud material back to Earth and look for life itself.”