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Can Venus Support Life?



Venus can NOT support life as we know it.

Living organisms cannot survive on Venus. The planet is toxic to carbon-based life. A thick atmosphere rich with carbon-dioxide envelopes Venus and creates a greenhouse effect. Clouds composed of droplets of sulfuric acid hover over the rocky, ocean-less surface. Air pressure bears down at a force 90 times that of Earth’s, quickly crushing space probes that have managed to land. Water is essentially absent. Surface temperatures escalate to over 880 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hot enough to melt lead. All told, these conditions create a hostile environment in which life as humans know it cannot exist.

Past Life on Venus

Frequently referred to as Earth’s sister planet, Venus closely resembles Earth in distance from the sun and its size, chemical composition, mass and density. Some scientists believe that although Venus has an inhospitable climate now, during the Solar System’s infancy, it may have been home to organisms adapted to its unique environment. It has been suggested that Venus had water and that life could have existed in closed sub-environments that protected the organisms from harsh surface conditions.

Life in the Clouds of Venus

Despite its extreme surface temperatures and sulfuric acid atmosphere, some scientists supposition that clouds of microbes may inhabit and reproduce in the upper layers of Venus’s atmosphere where the temperature is closer to that of Earth’s and water droplets are present. This idea is shored up by the fact that scientists recently discovered micro-organisms living in Earth’s atmosphere. Providing further grounds for the possibility of life in the clouds of Venus, some organisms on earth have demonstrated the ability to adapt to and thrive in highly acidic environments. Nonetheless, Venusian microbial cloud life is in the theory stage and no proof has yet been presented.



“Venus, Venus Information, Facts, News, Photos — National Geographic.” Science and Space Facts, Science and Space, Human Body, Health, Earth, Human Disease – National Geographic. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Dec. 2012.

“Reassessing the possibility of life on venus: p… [Astrobiology. 2002] – PubMed – NCBI.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Dec. 2012.

Venus clouds ‘might harbour life’.” BBC News – Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Dec. 2012.

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