On Venus, Cloudy With a Chance of Microbial Life

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Lately the invention of extremophiles, micro organism that reside in nuclear reactors, scorching ocean vents and different unlikely locations, and of exoplanets has spurred new work and concepts about liveable planets. If Mars can have microfossils, why not Venus?

Furthermore, Dr. Grinspoon stated, new research of Venus have led to the conclusion that the planet may need misplaced its oceans relatively lately, solely 700 million years in the past, permitting loads of time for the reason that formation of the planet for all times to have advanced after which escaped to the clouds.

What sort of life would that be? In 2004, Dirk Schulze-Makuch, an astronomer on the Technical College Berlin, in Germany, and his colleagues steered that microbes floating in the clouds might be coated with a compound known as cyclooctasulfur that will act as a sunscreen and convert ultraviolet gentle into seen wavelengths for photosynthesis.

Earlier this yr, Dr. Seager and her colleagues expanded on this concept and sketched out an entire possible life cycle for such organisms. The microbes might inhabit droplets of sulfuric acid within the clouds, they proposed; because the droplets collided and merged, an increasing number of microbes can be enclosed collectively, metabolize and divide.

Finally the drops would develop too heavy and rain down from the clouds, however they’d evaporate earlier than hitting the bottom, inflicting the microbes to dry out and go dormant.

Dr. Seager famous that Venus is understood to have a layer of haze. “It’s very stable, and people don’t know what the particles there are, but they remain suspended for a very long time,” she stated. “So I postulated that some of those particles, not all of them, but some of those particles might actually be dried-out life — spores.”

These spores can be gentle sufficient to float again as much as the clouds on currents known as gravity waves, the place they’d function seeds for brand spanking new droplets to condense round, restarting the entire cycle.

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