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Scientists suspect that Venus's atmosphere might hide extraterrestrial lifeforms, and in the most extraordinary safari ever, they want to go there and capture them with a flying balloon. Interplanetary travel, extraterrestrial life, and Venusian airships - anyone doing anything other than science is missing out.
Venus doesn't score very highly when we think of life-capable planets - with surface pressures twenty times those of Earth and temperatures which can melt tin and vaporise mercury, it's not a a good place for organics. In fact, it's not a good place for Terminators. But go up far enough and you find clouds with Earth-like temperatures, pressures, even chemistry (at least as far as original ingredients go). The fact that Venus boiled off all its oceans and turned them into sulfuric acid doesn't cancel out the fact there's water and heat aplenty.
3.3 Present Life
Could bacterial life exist in the atmosphere of Venus today? Although this is considered unlikely, the possibility of life in the clouds or the middle atmosphere of Venus has not been ruled out by any observations made to date. While the atmosphere is both dry and acidic, extremophilic life has adapted to far more harsh conditions on Earth.
There is some evidence that the trace-gas constituents of the Venus atmosphere are not in chemical equilibrium with each other. On Earth, the primary source of disequilibrium in theatmospheric chemistry is the activities of biological processing; could disequilibrium on Venusalso be a sign of life? In 1997, David Grinspoon made the suggestion that microbes in the clouds and middle atmosphere could be the source of the disequilibrium. In 2002, Dirk Schulze-Makuch independently proposed that observations of the Venus atmosphere by space probes showed signatures of possible biological activity.
As noted by Grinspoon and Schulze-Makuch, the Venus atmosphere has several trace gasses which are not in chemical equilibrium. The Venera missions and the Pioneer Venus and Magellan probes found that carbon monoxide is scarce in the planet's atmosphere, although solar radiation and lightning should produce it abundantly from carbon dioxide. Hydrogen sulfide and sulfur dioxide, two gases which react with each other and thus should not be found together, are also both present, indicating some process (possibly biological?) is producing them. Finally, although carbonyl sulfide is difficult to produce inorganically, it is present in the Venusian atmosphere. On Earth, this gas would be considered an unambiguous indicator of biological activity. While none of these chemical combinations are in themselves an unambiguous sign of life, it is interesting enough to warrant a more careful look at the atmospheric chemistry.
Originally posted by Maybe...maybe not
reply to post by jolois
What will it matter when Nibiru gets here?
Originally posted by TrueBrit
Im really glad that this has been mentioned outside the covers of fantastic works of fiction, like Arthur C Clarke used to write. The potential for life in gaseous suspension is something he touched on in the Odyssey series, and since reading that, I got to thinking seriously about it. When you really strip away all the nonsense "We havent seen it, so its impossible" think, you realise how staringly obvious it ought to be!
Regards to the seeming acceptance that researchers and scientists are looking at this with... Seems to me theres been a polar shift in the way scientists have begun to think lately. Just a year or two ago, the very idea of a serious scientist proclaiming his belief that clouds of gas might harbour life was utterly (hehe) alien to us. But now we have suspicions about water on the moon and mars, general acceptance that Europa might have some serious biodiversity under the frost of its surface, in the deeps of its global oceans, and this stunning leap from the scientific community ! I cant explain how happy I am that these people have stepped forward finaly!
Originally posted by Skyfloating
Venusians are all the rage, they even have a Wikipedia entry