Gas clouds on Venus could contain microbial extraterrestrial life forms, according to a new study published Friday.
The paper in the journal Astrobiology postulates that life forms on Venus could be a theoretical possibility because observed conditions like temperature, pressure, and chemical and physical properties are within a possible range.
The clouds would have to be sampled and tested before any definitive conclusions could be drawn, the scientists said in the journal, Newsweek reported. The team noticed dark patches on the planet’s clouds that have similar characteristics to clouds on Earth and could be like algae blooms found on Earth lakes.
The scientists believe Venus may even be a more likely source of life than Mars or other planets because it previously may have had liquid water on its surface for as long as 2 billion years, Science Daily reported.
“Venus has had plenty of time to evolve life on its own,” study leader and University of Wisconsin-Madison researcher Sanjay Limaye said, adding that the time frame would have been “much longer than is believed to have occurred on Mars.”
Bacteria can be found in Earth’s atmosphere up to 25 miles above the surface, Science Daily reported. Microbes have even been found in hot springs, deep ocean hydrothermal vents, and in acidic lakes.
“On Earth, we know that life can thrive in very acidic conditions, can feed on carbon dioxide, and produce sulfuric acid,” co-author and professor of biological chemistry at California State Polytechnic University Rakesh Mogul said in a statement.
A craft that could take samples from clouds on Venus is being developed by Northrop Grumman Corp. and could make it possible to test the make-up of the clouds to see if life exists, Science Daily reported.
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