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Scientists think life could be creating a new Venus environment

Scientists think life could be creating a new Venus environment

Solar system planet on nebula background 3d rendering

“Life finds a way.” The words that Ian Malcolm so famously spoke in 1993’s Jurassic Park still ring true, it seems. Scientists believe that life could be finding its way to Venus based on a new study.

How Venus could create its own environment

Solar system planet on nebula background 3d renderingImage source: gor_Filonenko/Adobe

Last year, researchers announced the discovery of phosphine in Venus’ atmosphere. The researchers suggested that it could be a sign of life on Venus. It is often due to organic matter breaking down that the colorless and smellless gas occurs. This is something that they’ve seen happen on Earth in the past.

That hypothesis proved to be a bit of a stretch, though, as the clouds that fill Venus’ atmosphere are full of carbon-dioxide. This meant that any lifeforms they claimed to have would have to be resistant to the sulfuric acid drops surrounding them. But now, a new studyFurther evidence supports the hypothesis of life on Venus.

Scientists at MIT believe that ammonia could neutralize sulfuric acid in the atmosphere. While it isn’t completely proven, scientists believe that ammonia could be present in the Venusian atmosphere. This belief is based in part on data from Pioneer Venus probe missions and Venera 8. If ammonia were to be found, it would start a long chain chemical reactions that could make this atmosphere habitable for living organisms. This would make it possible to live on Venus.

The proof is in it

venusImage source: NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Naval Research Laboratory/Guillermo Stenborg, Brendan Gallagher

Sara Seager, a coauthor of the study and a planetary science professor at MIT, addressed the study in a Press releaseThis week.

“There are very acidic environments on Earth where life does live, but it’s nothing like the environment on Venus—unless life is neutralizing some of those droplets.”

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It is fascinating to think that chemicals could somehow make life possible on Venus. Of course, there’s still a lot to be done if these researchers want to prove the theory. It would require another probe mission to the planet. NASA and the European Space Agency are both planning future missions over the next 15-years. But, that’s a long time to wait.

All we can do for now is to look at all the data that we have. If chemicals in the air are indeed opening up to life, it could provide new opportunities for us in exploring and understanding the planets of our Solar System. We’re still working our way towards discovering proof of life on Mars, but who knows, maybe Venus could be the next planet we find it on.

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