CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — A new study is throwing coldof life in the clouds of Venus.
Scientists from Europe and the U.S.enough water vapor in the scorching planet’s clouds to support life as we know it.
Theby others that strange, tiny organisms could be lurking in the thick, sulfuric acid-filled clouds of Venus. The latest found the water level is more than 100 times too low to support Earth-like life through spacecraft observations.
“It’s almost at the bottom of the scale and an unbridgeablethe lead author, John Hallsworth, a microbiologist at Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland.
His team looked at the most dry-tolerant and also the most acid-tolerant microbes ona chance in Venus.”
While the latest findings veto Venus, at least for water-based organisms, they identify another planet — Jupiter — with enough water in thelife.
“Now, I’m not suggesting there’s life on Jupiter, and I’m not even suggesting life could be there because it would need the nutrients to be there, and we can’t be sure of that,” Hallsworth stressed to reporters. “But still, it’s a profound and exciting finding and unexpected.”
Further studies will be needed to ascertain whether microbialin the clouds of Jupiter, according to Hallsworth and NASA astrobiologist Chris McKay, a co-author on the research paper published Monday in the journal Nature Astronomy.
As for Venus, three new spacecraft will be headed therethis decade and early next — two by NASA and one by the European Space Agency. Hallsworth and McKay don’t expect their results to hottest planet.
“It’s unfortunate because I’m very interested in searching for life on other worlds, and I would love to think that Venus is habitable,” McKay said.
The scientists behind the September study possibly hint at life in the Vesuvian clouds based their findings on the presence of the toxic gas phosphine. On Earth, it’s associated with life. The researchers argued that Venus’ phosphine levels are too high to be geologic in origin.
“We are not trying to push Venus as a habitable world. So far, all conventional interpretations say Venus is inhabitable!” said Massachusetts Institute of Technology astrophysicist Sara Seager,.
Regarding the latest study, “we are tremendously enthusiastic about leaving no stone unturned, in case there is life on Venus,” she added in an email.
There’s always the possibility that any life in Venus’ clouds — if it exists — could be totally unlike anything on Earth and adapted to the hothouse planet’s sweltering and harsh conditions, according to scientists.
“If there isin the clouds of Venus, then this life has to be ‘Life as we do not know it,’ said astrobiologist Janusz Piatkowski, a colleague of Seager’s at MIT. “The question is how different that life can be?”