A recently published study by scientists from the University of Cambridge in the UK has concluded that there can be no life on Venus. The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, noted no signs of microbes eating or excreting the planet, suggesting that the strange chemical composition of the planet’s clouds cannot be explained by extraterrestrial life.
For the study, the researchers analyzed the biochemistry of the dense, sulfur-rich clouds present in Venus. The team of three researchers: Sean Jordan, Oliver Shortall and Paul B. Rimmer looked for “fingerprints” that any potential cloud-dwelling organisms would leave there as a result of their feeding and excretion.
The researchers modeled the expected chemical reactions in Venus’s sulfur dioxide-rich atmosphere. It should be noted that the concentration of sulfur dioxide is higher in clouds closer to the surface of the planet, but decreases with altitude. Scientists thought that sulfur dioxide may have disappeared because it is consumed by microbes living in the cloud. However, after running the model, the researchers found that chemically, that hypothesis did not work.
The paper’s first author, Sean Jordan of the Cambridge Institute of Astronomy, said he has seen sulfur-based ‘food’ available in the atmosphere of Venus and it is not something one would want to eat, but it is the main available energy source available on the planet. Is. Jordan continued, “If that food is being consumed by life, then we should see evidence that it is being lost and gained in the atmosphere through specific chemicals.”
He also noted that if life was responsible for the sulfur dioxide levels on Venus, it would also break much of what we know about Venus’ atmospheric chemistry.
In a press release, Rimmer said, “We have spent the past two years trying to explain the strange sulfur chemistry seen in the clouds of Venus.” He said life is very good at “weird chemistry,” so researchers are studying whether there’s a way to make life a possible explanation for what they see.
It is hoped that the latest study could guide observations from the James Webb Space Telescope, which is set to reveal its first scientific images this month.
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