Life on Venus

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idobox
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Life on Venus

Postby idobox » Fri Aug 24, 2012 10:25 am UTC

I've recently read the wiki on Venusian atmosphere, and they say it's out of equilibrium and contains H2S, SO2 and OCS. Since H2S and SO2 react together, something must be producing it. They also claim OCS is difficult to produce inorganically, but at the same time, the wiki on OCS claims volcanism is a major source.
They also talk about clouds of unidentified particulates.
And the pressure and temperature in the upper atmosphere is comparable to Earth's

So, why isn't everybody talking about life in Venus clouds? why haven't we sent balloons there to investigate?
Is it because they are much easier to explain this phenomena, like dust or ice/sulfur/whatever crystals, and lightning induced synthesis? Is the possibility seriously considered by exobiologists?
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Moose Anus
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Re: Life on Venus

Postby Moose Anus » Thu Aug 30, 2012 8:09 pm UTC

Generally Venusian life is considered to be made up of flying mammals with sulfur respirators. Therefore, they may be bats, or even flying squirrels. Either way, it is unknown how they received their sulfur respirators in the first place. There is currently work being done on a Venus Lander which will investigate the process of sulfur respirator distribution to these flying mammals. When that process is established, there are plans to set up trade routes so that we can import valuable OCS for use in deuterium mining.
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Charlie!
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Re: Life on Venus

Postby Charlie! » Fri Aug 31, 2012 1:44 am UTC

You know, I don't think we have any exobiologists in here. Maybe it's that we don't see a bunch of complicated organic molecules.
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Re: Life on Venus

Postby idobox » Fri Aug 31, 2012 12:49 pm UTC

We surely won't find many close to the ground, but as much as I understand, the upper atmosphere hasn't been explored much, and even if there was a lot of them, I don't think we would have noticed.
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Re: Life on Venus

Postby Drowsy Turtle » Fri Aug 31, 2012 7:00 pm UTC

Venus is too hot for Earth-like life, which in NASA's earlier missions probably made it a less appealing target than Mars. There also don't seem to be any stable media on Venus for organic (or exo-organic or pseudo-organic or whatever) reactions to take place in.

H2S and SO2 react under standard conditions: at higher temperatures and pressures on Venus they might not. Venus is thought to have a volcanic past, which would explain the presence of both, with plate motion no longer occurring due to a lack of surface fluids (on Earth the oceans put weight, both directly and through sedimentation, on the oceanic plates and contribute to subduction. Plate tectonics without oceans would require a larger planet).

Hope this helps :)

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Wnderer
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Re: Life on Venus

Postby Wnderer » Fri Aug 31, 2012 8:09 pm UTC

These people didn't find any mysteries in calculating the chemical equilibrium of Venus's atmosphere.

http://yly-mac.gps.caltech.edu/Venus/Fe ... arus97.pdf

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Re: Life on Venus

Postby cphite » Fri Aug 31, 2012 11:20 pm UTC

Venus is too hot for Earth-like life, which in NASA's earlier missions probably made it a less appealing target than Mars. There also don't seem to be any stable media on Venus for organic (or exo-organic or pseudo-organic or whatever) reactions to take place in.


I remember reading a while back that some scientists believe that it may be possible that the temperature in deep ravines on Venus might be far lower, to the point where life as we know it may not be impossible. And, here on Earth we're finding various critters in environments once thought completely hostile to life.

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Re: Life on Venus

Postby Drowsy Turtle » Fri Aug 31, 2012 11:54 pm UTC

cphite wrote:I remember reading a while back that some scientists believe that it may be possible that the temperature in deep ravines on Venus might be far lower, to the point where life as we know it may not be impossible. And, here on Earth we're finding various critters in environments once thought completely hostile to life.


Still, lacking a liquid medium for biochemical reactions, it's not very plausible for life to emerge.
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Re: Life on Venus

Postby Charlie! » Sat Sep 01, 2012 12:15 am UTC

idobox wrote:We surely won't find many close to the ground, but as much as I understand, the upper atmosphere hasn't been explored much, and even if there was a lot of them, I don't think we would have noticed.

By "see" I mean literally looking - I assume people have at least done spectroscopy on Venus.
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Re: Life on Venus

Postby Drowsy Turtle » Sat Sep 01, 2012 12:20 am UTC

To be fair, we actually see less organic molecules on the surface of mars than we do in asteroids, probably because of perchlorate ions and the like found in the soil. As per my earlier post, we wouldn't expect organic molecules on the surface of Venus either, because of the temperature.
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Re: Life on Venus

Postby idobox » Fri Sep 07, 2012 1:19 pm UTC

Just to replace the context. I was talking of the upper atmosphere, where pressure and temperature is equivalent to Earth's surface. The sulphuric acid clouds might not be the best imaginable medium for life, but it is liquid.
The surface is far too hot for anything resembling Earth life to exist. Even robotic probes die quite quickly.

About looking for these, I haven't found much information on the upper atmosphere. Apparently, there have been satellites and probes destined to the ground, but no atmospheric balloons yet, able to do fine analysis. They've been able to detect these 'out of equilibrium' molecules (I tried to read the link, but it is far beyond my knowledge in chemistry), so I suppose they have been using spectroscopy, or studied the atmosphere during descent.
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Re: Life on Venus

Postby Quizatzhaderac » Fri Sep 07, 2012 5:05 pm UTC

I think the reason few people are talking about life in the Venusian atmosphere is because the evidence makes it relatively probable, not absolutely probable. It's much more likely there then on the surface, and maybe a little more than on Mars' surface, but it's still not believed to be a huge chance.
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Re: Life on Venus

Postby alexh123456789 » Sat Sep 08, 2012 6:31 am UTC

Wnderer wrote:These people didn't find any mysteries in calculating the chemical equilibrium of Venus's atmosphere.

http://yly-mac.gps.caltech.edu/Venus/Fe ... arus97.pdf


I think this is the source for the statistic he was talking about in the original post, if you skip to the summary it says,
paper wrote:At higher altitudes a disequilibrium region exists. In this region, the fO2 is apparently more oxidizing than predicted by chemical equilibrium. . As a result, hematite, and possibly other Fe(3+) bearing minerals exist on the surface.


From what I read, it's not like they found organic molecules, and even if life somehow managed to form in a cold enough place to have liquid water, it seems like it'd be destroyed by the sulfuric acid everywhere. Life on earth was probably created over a very long time as more complex organic molecules built up in the ocean, but in a high acid environment these molecules probably won't stay stable for a long enough time.

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Re: Life on Venus

Postby ImagingGeek » Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:31 pm UTC

Just to add a biologists perspective to this discussion.

While the upper levels of venus's atmosphere has the right temps (pressure is largely irrelevant), it lacks a few of the things typically thought to drive abiogenesis - a liquid medium (liquid water) for the abiogenic interactions to take place in, and solid surfaces, which are generally though to be a necessity for abiogeneisis as they act as catalysts, nucleating sites, and (at least in metabolism-first models) are required to form the first chemical gradients used to produce pre-cellular energy.

Its easier to envisage "seeding" pre-engineered/evolved organisms into venus's clouds than it is to envisage a plausible abiogenic process that could occur tens of km above the surface of an otherwise hostile planet.

Now, if Venus was more habitable in the past, you end up with a very different story.

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Re: Life on Venus

Postby Quizatzhaderac » Wed Sep 12, 2012 2:13 pm UTC

ImagingGeek wrote:Just to add a biologists perspective to this discussion.

While the upper levels of venus's atmosphere has the right temps (pressure is largely irrelevant), it lacks a few of the things typically thought to drive abiogenesis......

It seems to me that the potential for life over Venus doesn't strictly require Venusian abiogenesis. I'm not sure how seriously biologists take panspermia, but it seems that it should be more likely in the context of extraterrestrial life. But even without a true panspermia some bacteria may have arrived from an an Earth-Venus meteor or one of our probes.
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