Life on Venus? Agreed terms help sensible discussion

Catastrophe

The devil is in the detail
Sky at Night Microbial Life on Venus? What are the chances? Mark A Garlick 11/2020

"Certainly, billions of years ago, Venus, Earth and Mars were much more alike than they are now; they formed at a similar distance from the Sun, and from the same rocks and metals. If life took root here, it might well have done so on our sister worlds, and could have persisted until global climate catastrophes and other factors turned Mars into a freezing desert and Venus into an inferno."
"The existence of life on Mars now, though, is contested, and on Venus - given its environment - seems at first exceedingly unlikely. But there is a caveat. Venus is only a heat trap on the surface. At an altitude of 50 km the atmospheric pressure drops to 1 bar (from 93 bar), and the temperature is comparable to a temperate day on Earth. This is Venus' own habitable zone and it raises the question: could life flourish amongst its clouds?" . . . . . . . . .
New momentum was gathered "with the discovery of the spectral signature of phosphine in Venus' atmosphere. Like methane, its detection is a possible indicator of life, and some astronomers have proposed looking for it in the spectra of exoplanets' atmospheres as they transit their parent stars. It isn't absolutely certain that the phosphine on Venus is biologically created, but scientists have yet to identify other chemical processes that can make it there. And this is why its potential existence is so exciting. Phosphine and the unknown substance absorbing ultraviolet light, taken together make a good case for studying the subject more closely."
"On Earth, microbial life is everywhere. It thrives around sea-floor volcanic vents, in hot springs, in deserts, in ice and in the sky. Surface bacteria can be swept into the atmosphere, find their way into droplets of water, and survive at altitudes as high as 4 km. Life is, it would seem, undoubtedly very hardy.

View: https://imgur.com/a/UuY4fSc

Reproduced from Sky at Night 11/2020



Several other places in the Solar System are often touted as potential abodes of life, as yet undiscovered. But among these worlds it's Venus which is the easiest to reach. At an altitude of 50 km, floating habitats would be the ideal launch pad from which to search for signs of life in the clouds. Perhaps our search for extra-terrestrial cousins among the planets should begin there.


All About Space Is there Life on Venus by Lee Cavendish Issue 110 November 2020

"Could life be floating around in the clouds of Venus? Does Earth's sister planet have habitable conditions above the hellscape which is the surface? Have astrobiologists just found another target in the Solar System they should be investigating? These are just some of the questions that have recently come to attention after research led by Professor Jane Greaves of Cardiff University found phosphine, a potential biosignature, in the atmosphere of Venus."
"Phosphine - a molecule made up of one phosphorus atom and three hydrogen atoms - is a rare find. It can be created through chemical reactions on gas giant planets as well as being produced industrially on Earth. On Earth it can also be created biologically by microbes that live in oxygen-free environments. As this gas is a known by-product of biological processes, also known as a biosignature, it has fuelled intense speculation about what could be hiding on the second rock from the Sun."

View: https://imgur.com/a/coW0F6V

Life has been found latched onto hydrothermal vents at the bottom of Earth's oceans - an unlikely location.


"Although the surface of Venus is extremely toxic and unforgiving, laced in a thick atmosphere of 96% carbon dioxide and clouds consisting of sulphuric acid, there are more similarities to Earth than you may think. Venus is 80% the mass of Earth and 95% of the radius, making them relatively alike on a planetary scale. They are both rocky planets that have a surface composition consisting of basalt rock and altered minerals."
"If you could jump back in time 3 or 4 billion years, Venus would be a lot cooler and a lot wetter, potentially accommodating oceans of liquid water inside a hospitable atmosphere. However, this all changed when the planet experienced a greenhouse effect that insulated the planet's atmosphere and trapped more of the Sun's heat. This has resulted in the surface that can be observed today, with temperatures of 465 degrees C (869 degrees F) and pressures similar to if you diving roughly 910 metres (3000 feet) under the sea on Earth."
"It is thought that much earlier in Venus' history, the surface was much cooler and wetter, and life could possibly have originated. But conditions turned very hostile. But there is a long standing theory that the smallest forms of life - these microorganisms - might have been able to evolve upwards into the high clouds."

All About Space Exploring Hell Issue 112 January 2021

"As recently illustrated in the announcement of potential life signs, Venus harbours the most benign off-Earth environment in the Solar System. Some 30 km (18.6 miles) high in the clouds it is 1 Earth atmosphere pressure and between 15 and 30 degrees C (59 and 86 degrees F), yet the surface is the most hostile place in the Solar System."
"The dense carbon dioxide atmosphere, which produces the benign conditions higher up, traps in solar heat through the greenhouse effect. The surface temperature is hotter than the surface of Mercury, and hot enough to melt lead. The density of the atmosphere also makes the surface pressure 92 times that of Earth's. equivalent to nearly one km (0.6 miles) deep in the ocean."
"This harsh environment has severely limited our ability to explore the surface. The Soviets made a speciality of Venus exploration,, sending 16 probes between 1961 and 1984. Faced with the heat and pressure, the longest any lander survived was 127 minutes. Seeking to return to Venus, survive longer and explore more of the surface, NASA issued a NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) grant to Jonathan Sauder for his ingenious Autonomous Rover for Extreme Environments (AREE) concept." Considerable detail is provided on various equipment.


VENUS SURFACE PANORAMA FROM VENERA 14 FRONT CAMERA The Soviet Union's Venera 14 probe captured two color panoramas of Venus's surface in 1982. This panorama came from the front camera. Russian Academy of Sciences / Ted Stryk

Last edit Friday 16th July 2021 16.40 BST
 
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Catastrophe

The devil is in the detail
When considering possible life (or colonisation) in the cloud layer, it should be remembered that wind speed gets up to higher values as you reach the equator. And don't forget the sulphuric acid!

"The Venusian cloud layer makes one complete tour of the planet in 4.2 days. This natural convection movement, which occurs from east to west, is called super rotation. The super-rotation motion begins at about 10km, and grows steadily up to 65km, where the equatorial winds reach speeds of about 540km/h."
Venus, super rotation of the cloud layer | BIRA-IASB
 
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Jun 1, 2020
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It seems possible to me that a chunk of Earth debris from an ancient impact event could have been flung to Venus and entered the atm. donating extremophiles into its upper atmosphere. The extremely dense atmosphere of Venus would cause the ablation process to be very high in altitude, possibly exploding (thus not frying all the little guys with ablation).

That's just a guess. :)
 
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Any extant life on either Venus or Mars is most probably markedly unlike any life forms now on Earth. My gut feeling is that life on Earth is simply the unbelievably fortunate result of naturally occurring forces and events. To follow on, life as we define it may statistically exist in the visible Universe, but I doubt it. Within our current technological capabilities we may be able to detect the existence of extinct microbes on Venus or Mars, but nothing will be looking back from those two desolate planets nor from the Universe. Nevertheless, I hope and wish I'm wrong. (To paraphrase: "A species alone keeps bad company" as our history seems to confirm).
 
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Catastrophe

The devil is in the detail
Many have asked or wondered about microbial life in Venus' clouds:

While the discovery is surprising, scientists have speculated for years that microbial life might exist in Venus' atmosphere. ... Even Carl Sagan suggested that life could be possible in Venus' atmosphere. But due to the acidic clouds, any microbial life would likely be quite different from any on Earth.14 Sept 2020

Has microbial life been found on Venus? | Space | EarthSky



Cat :)
 
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sam85geo,

The diversity of life

The biosphere supports between 3 and 30 million species of plants, animals, fungi, single-celled prokaryotes such as bacteria, and single-celled eukaryotes such as protozoans

Biosphere - The diversity of life | Britannica

Is your post #5 talking only about humans?

Cat :) :) :)
Cat: I'm referring to life forms with "human like" capability in post #5. I think that on either Venus or Mars any lifeforms on those planets are long extinct if in fact they even existed at all. Sadly, I extend that "belief" to our visible Universe.
 
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@Cat: You're logically correct; life in our visible Universe or beyond should not be written off just because two barren planets in out solar system are lifeless now. However, I'm pessimistic, possibly too much so; I want to see some hard evidence whether fossils or a provable extraterrestrial, alive or dead. Perhaps my view and expectation is clouded by too much science fiction. Nonetheless, if a 7-of-9 type landed her flying saucer in my backyard, she would be heartedly welcomed after I recovered from a coronary.
 
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Catastrophe

The devil is in the detail
The billions of stars in a galaxy, with tens of billions of planets, the billions of galaxies in what we observe of the Universe, and here we are in charge of the lot. How could there be any more when we are so perfect? The ultimate in the whole shebang ! Our little pete is the big boss and the rest, if any, are microbes.

Well, that's the universe sorted out. Off back to the telly.

Cat :) ;) :)
 
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May 11, 2021
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Ultimately it depends on the probability of biogenesis and the subsequent probabilities involved in latter development. We don't know what these probabilities are so its an open question. It's not obvious that the universe is teaming with life, it might be or we might be alone we just don't know.
 
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Catastrophe

The devil is in the detail

It is one of those personal questions. To me abiogenesis is beyond any conceivable doubt the obvious solution. If one prefers to believe otherwise, that is their problem, not mine.

Cat :)
 
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