- Dr. Michelle Thaller claims “possible signs of life” have been seen on Venus
- Venus is the hottest planet in our solar system with a scorching temperature of 475°C (900°F).
A planet suffering scorching temperatures of 475°C (900°F) under a thick, acidic atmosphere may be the last place you would expect extraterrestrial life in our Solar System.
But a NASA scientist claims that there are most likely aliens hiding on Venus in unbearable conditions for humans.
The new theory was proposed by Dr. Michelle Thaller, a research scientist at the US-based Goddard Space Flight Center.
She says “possible signs of life” have already been seen within the carbon dioxide-filled atmosphere, adding that she was absolutely certain life exists somewhere.
“We see possible signs of life in the atmosphere of Venus,” said Dr. Thaller in an interview with Sun.
NASA’s Dr. Michelle Thaller claims “possible signs of life” have been seen on Venus
‘I never expected Venus. On Venus we now see something in the atmosphere that looks very much like what bacteria might have produced.’
VENUS: THE BASICS
Venus, the second planet from the sun, is a rocky world about the same size and mass as Earth.
However, its atmosphere is radically different from ours: it is made up of 96 percent carbon dioxide and has a surface temperature of 867°F (464°C) and a pressure 92 times that of Earth.
The inhospitable planet is shrouded in clouds of sulfuric acid that make it impossible to glimpse the surface.
In the past, it has been suggested that Venus probably had oceans similar to Earth’s, but these would have been vaporized under a runaway greenhouse effect.
The surface of Venus is a dry desert landscape, periodically changed by volcanic activity.
facts and figures
orbital period: 225 days
surface area: 460.2 million km²
distance from the sun: 108.2 million kilometers
day length: 116d 18h 0m
Radio: 6,051.8 kilometers
Mass: 4.867 × 10^24kg (0.815M⊕)
Venus is often described as the “twin of Earth” due to its similar size and structure.
But its conditions couldn’t be further away, as astronomers believe it would be impossible for humans to exist on Venus.
Located 67 million miles from the Sun, Venus is the hottest planet in our solar system, experiencing temperatures that can even melt lead.
Its atmosphere, made up of sulfuric acid and carbon dioxide, also aggravates the situation, causing a “runaway greenhouse effect” that prevents heat from escaping into outer space.
Despite this, scientists have long debated whether Venusian clouds can harbor microbial life forms that can survive on sulfur, methane, and iron.
Many theorize that photosynthesis is possible on the planet’s surface since Venus receives enough solar energy to penetrate through its thick clouds.
However, Professor Dominic Papineau, an astrobiologist at University College London, believes that Dr Thaller’s views are “difficult to formulate a realistic hypothesis”.
Speaking to MailOnline, he explained: ‘For life-related chemical reactions to take place, you need liquid water. Therefore, to find alien life we need to find liquid water, and to find alien fossils we need to look for sedimentary rocks that were associated with liquid water in the past.
“This makes it difficult today to formulate realistic hypotheses about life on Venus, because its surface is too hot, even though Venus could have had liquid water in the past.
“However, one problem with a possible fossil record on Venus is widespread volcanism that seems to have covered most of the surface in the last few hundred million years.”
Venus is the hottest planet in our solar system with a scorching temperature of 475°C (900°F).
Located 67 million miles from the Sun, Venus is the hottest planet in the solar system.
Still, both Professor Papineau and Dr Thaller agree that the icy moons of our solar system could also be sites of possible microbial life.
NASA suggests that there are 290 “traditional moons” in our solar system, excluding 462 asteroids and minor planets.
“Most likely, we can find extraterrestrial life and/or fossils on Mars and the icy moons of the outer solar system,” Professor Papineau continued.
“This is because liquid water exists on those planetary bodies, including the ice at the Martian south pole. Mars and its icy moons also have a geological record that could preserve fossils.’
MailOnline has contacted Dr. Thaller for comment.
DROPS OF CARBON DIOXIDE AND SULFURIC ACID IN THE ATMOSPHERE OF VENUS
The atmosphere of Venus is composed mainly of carbon dioxide, with clouds of sulfuric acid droplets.
The thick atmosphere traps heat from the sun, resulting in surface temperatures exceeding 470°C (880°F).
The atmosphere has many layers with different temperatures.
At the cloud level, about 30 miles (50 km) from the surface, the temperature is about the same as on Earth’s surface.
As Venus moves forward in its solar orbit while slowly rotating backward on its axis, the cloud tops revolve around the planet every four Earth days.
They are driven by hurricane force winds traveling at approximately 224 miles (360 km) per hour.
Atmospheric lightning illuminates these fast-moving clouds.
Speeds within clouds decrease with cloud height, and at the surface are estimated to be only a few miles (km) per hour.
On land, it would look like a very hazy and cloudy day on Earth and the atmosphere is so heavy that it would feel like you are one mile (1.6 km) deep underwater.