Life bags in the atmosphere of Venus?

Vénus photographiée par la sonde Mariner 10 lors de sa visite en 1974. © Nasa, JPL-Caltech

Venus, despite its hospitable appearance, is particularly susceptible to life in its atmosphere: indescribable chemical contaminants are found there, including the possible presence of ammonia. MIT researchers propose a chain of potentially chemical processes from the simple presence of ammonia (a possible biological origin in the study) that neutralizes the acidic environment of the atmosphere.

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[EN VIDÉO] Magellan reveals the landscape of Venus
This visualization is a brief tour of the entire landscape of the planet Venus as revealed by radar on the Magellan spacecraft. Landscape height is color coded, blue and green denote low elevations and red elevated areas. Two large “continents” or the Highlands, Aphrodite Terra and Ishtar Terra, the Maxwell Montes Range and Matt Mons, a large volcano currently dormant.

Sometimes nicknamed the “sister planet of the earth” due to some of their similarities (size Mass, Compound), Friday Our closest planet. With an average temperature of 460 C, its surface is constantly scratched Holes Throwing at speeds of up to 100 m / s creates unfavorable conditions for anyone’s survival. Life form Known. According to him Atmosphere, Which was 96% Carbon dioxide, And much denser than the Earth’s atmosphere, with a Pressure On the ground with 93 bars (i.e. approximately 93 times the pressure at the surface of the earth). It also has bold features Clouds Dioxide compounds Sulfur And dropletsSulfuric acid, Sometimes in the form of rainAcid Sulfuric acid (evaporates before they reach the surface).

Is it doubtful that a planet without hospitality has the right conditions for life?

Despite these uninvited properties, many parameters lead Scientists To doubt Friday It is particularly susceptible to life in its atmosphere: first, at an altitude of approximately 50 km, the pressure and temperature are similar to the Earth’s surface (approximately 1 bar, and the temperature varies from 0 to 50. C), providing much milder conditions than the surface of Venus. In addition, Contradictions Unexplained chemicals have been found in silver clouds, such as low oxygen levels, spherical particles (as opposed to spherical droplets of sulfuric acid) and small amounts of vapor. The vertical specifications of sulfur dioxide and vapor mass in Venus’ atmosphere are difficult to explain. Even more intriguing is the presence of ammonia, which was briefly discovered by studies in the 1970s. Friday 8 and the forerunner is Venus, but its origin in the Venusian atmosphere is not described.

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MIT scientists (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), The University of Cardiff and the University of Cambridge attempted to identify chemical reactions Venus Atmosphere To explain the observed discrepancies. In their sample, the reactions are formed in the presence of ammonia, which on the one hand has the domino effect capable of explaining detected anomalies making it possible to induce chemical reactions but neutralize the droplets of sulfuric acid. Dissolves in droplets of sulfuric acid, neutralizes ammonia acid and traps sulfur dioxide in the form of ammonium sulfide salts. This trap of sulfur dioxide explains the irregularity of its vertical excess. Drops containing ammonium salts have similar environmental conditions Acidity Terrain makes them “livable ‘.

Biological origin of ammonia?

Although the source of ammonia is not currently known, scientists have predicted that its existence may involve biological production, which could not be explained by other non-biological processes. Volcano Or The Lightning. In addition, it contains ammonia (NH3)Hydrogen, Which is present only in very small amounts in the atmosphere of Venus: a Gas Its non-ecological nature is easily suspected of being linked to biological processes.

If Venus ammonia is actually produced by an organism, the scientists involved in the study take their model even further: the reaction that produces the highly potent ammonia also produces oxygen, explaining the detection of O.2 In cloud layers.

This model therefore demonstrates the possibility of chemical processes largely explaining the anomalies found in the Venus atmosphere, but also includes a biological source capable of producing ammonia, which creates the most favorable conditions for the survival of any kind of life. In short, this study suggests that life can create its own environment Friday. This hypothesis is impressive, and scientists have compiled a list of chemical signatures that include future clouds of Venus (including travel). Venus Life Finder) Should focus on trying to verify it.

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About the Author: Cary Douglas

Cary Douglas is a reporter who covers everything from oil trading to China's biggest conglomerates and technology companies. Originally from Chicago, he is a graduate of New York University's business and economic reporting program.

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