An accurate and new analysis of the chemical status of Venus clouds shows that it does not contain any of the biological characteristics of aerobic life with sulfur fuel; As a result, the mystery of discoverable life in Venus clouds has been largely solved, and at least until new information is obtained, this result will remain strong. The complex chemical properties of Venus’ upper atmosphere cannot be easily described on the basis of the vitality we know.
Speculations about the possibility of life at the average altitudes of Venus Cloud have risen since a group of researchers reported the discovery of phosphine gas in Venus’ clouds in 2020. However, this is not a new hypothesis; Because more than 50 years ago, in 1967, Harold Movitz Biophysicists and Carl Signen The astronomer made this hypothesis.
Scientists have recently claimed that the chemical properties of Venus could contain clues to life in Venus clouds with sulfur metabolism. This process is similar to the metabolism of microscopic organisms on Earth. The effect of sulfur dioxide on Venus is very strange. This substance is abundant at lower altitudes; While its value is very low at higher altitudes. Paul Reimer“The Cambridge University astronomer and chemist says:
We have spent the last two decades trying to describe the strange chemical properties of sulfur in Venus clouds. Such strange chemical conditions are suitable for the growth of life; As a result, we explored that the formation of life could be a justification for our observations.
Although strange chemical conditions are conducive to the growth of life, the life we know does not do well in concealing itself; Unless vitality is hidden underground or in a cave. Biological processes consume elements of the environment and introduce elements into it. Breathing is a good example of this. Humans breathe oxygen and release carbon dioxide when they exhale. In contrast, trees absorb carbon dioxide and excrete oxygen.
Venus’s chemical conditions are very different from Earth’s conditions. The planet’s atmosphere is rich in sulfur. The density of sulfur in Venus’ atmosphere is 100,000 times higher than that of sulfur in Earth’s atmosphere, and it contains compounds such as sulfur dioxide, sulfuric acid, and carbonyl sulfide.
In a new study, a group of researchers led Sean Jordan The University of Cambridge studied the expected chemical reactions with respect to the energy sources in Venus’ atmosphere. Jordan says:
We examined the sulfur food in Venus’s atmosphere. This food is not something you want to eat; But it is the main source of energy in Venus’ atmosphere. If this food is consumed as a form of life, we can see evidence of it through wasted chemicals produced in the atmosphere.
The strange effect of sulfur dioxide was one of the important issues. This compound is produced on Earth by volcanic activity, and it may have been produced in the same way on Venus. However, if living organisms with sulfur fuel live in the upper atmosphere of Venus, they can be considered the main cause of the lack of sulfur dioxide at higher altitudes.
Scientists have already proposed sulfur fuels that could theoretically consume the chemicals in Venus’ atmosphere. Accordingly, Jordan and his colleagues sought to model the chemical reactions that occur in the presence of sulfur forms of life. They wanted to know if the compound seen in Venus’ atmosphere was the result of this process.
The researchers concluded that the scorching life of sulfur could explain the lack of sulfur dioxide. In addition, biological processes produce just as many new compounds in abundance that do not exist in Venus’ upper atmosphere, as expected. Jordan adds:
If life were to cause the formation of sulfur dioxide, everything we knew about the chemical properties of Venus’ atmosphere would change. We wanted life to be a possible justification; But with the implementation of the models, we realized that this answer is not sustainable. Although life is not the main reason for Venus ‘observations, other mysteries about Venus’ atmosphere and strange chemical properties remain unanswered.
We still do not know why and how sulfur dioxide was released from Venus’ upper atmosphere; As a result, the question remains. Also, there may be a biosphere with an unknown metabolism that we do not know about until the probe is sent.
At present, researchers see the new study as a framework for simulating the impact of the aerial biosphere on extraterrestrial worlds, and ultimately the search for life in the atmosphere of extrasolar planets. Given that the atmosphere of extrasolar planets is the best place to look for signs of life, this result can be interesting. Reimer concludes:
Even if Venus is a dead planet, Venus-like planets may host life in other systems. From this research we can learn points and generalize these points to extrasolar systems. In any case, we are just beginning.
Research mentioned in the journal Nature Communications It’s been published.