Story at a glance

  • A study of sulphuric acid clouds on Venus found there wasn't enough water for active life to exist on the planet.
  • The calculations, replicated for Earth and Mars, suggest that there could be life on Jupiter.
  • Researchers are hoping to learn more from upcoming missions to Venus.

John Gray's metaphorical theory in “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus,” doesn’t seem to have much basis in reality, according to new findings that at least one of the two planets can’t support life at all. 

“Our research shows that the sulphuric acid clouds in Venus have too little water for active life to exist, based on what we know of life on Earth,” said John E. Hallsworth, the Queen’s University Belfast scientist who led the study, in a release.

But it’s not all bad news, he added.

“We have also found that the conditions of water and temperature within Jupiter’s clouds could allow microbial-type life to subsist, assuming that other requirements such as nutrients are present.”


READ MORE STORIES FROM CHANGING AMERICA

NASA’S MARS HELICOPTER LANDS IN PLACE IT HAD NEVER SEEN BEFORE

AMAZING NEW PHOTOS SHOW EXTREMELY RARE CLOUDS DRIFTING OVER MARS

SPACE FLIGHT WITH JEFF BEZOS TO BE AUCTIONED OFF ON SATURDAY

AMAZON BILLIONAIRE JEFF BEZOS WILL FLY INTO SPACE IN JULY


Water activity in the sulphuric acid clouds of Venus, however, was more than a hundred times below the lower limit at which life can exist on Earth, according to the study, which was published in "Nature Astronomy." The findings allegedly refute a study published last year that claimed the phosphine gas in Venus’s atmosphere indicated possible life. While the gas was shown to exist, an error in that study significantly diminished the chances of finding life on Venus. 

“The search for extraterrestrial life has sometimes been a bit simplistic in its attitude to water,” said Philip Ball, a co-author of the report, in a release. “As our work shows, it’s not enough to say that liquid water equates with habitability. We’ve got to think too about how Earth-like organisms actually use it – which shows us that we then have to ask how much of the water is actually available for those biological uses.”  


America is changing faster than ever! Add Changing America to your Facebook or Twitter feed to stay on top of the news.


The calculations, which are based on direct observations of pressure, temperature and water concentration, can even be done for planets outside the Earth’s solar system, Hallsworth said — hypothetically, at least. 

“While our research doesn’t claim that alien (microbial-type) life does exist on other planets in our solar system, it shows that if the water activity and other conditions are right, then such life could exist in places where we haven’t previously been looking,” he said in the release.    

The research could be put to the test by measurements of the atmosphere taken during upcoming missions to Venus planned by NASA and the European Space Agency, in which a trio of spacecraft are set to conduct “the most comprehensive study of Venus ever.”


READ MORE STORIES FROM CHANGING AMERICA

IVY LEAGUE SCIENTIST SAYS NASA MAY HAVE ACCIDENTALLY SPREAD LIFE TO MARS

FALSE ALARM: NO SPACE JUNK THREAT TO SPACEX LAUNCH

NASA’S HELICOPTER SENDS FIRST AERIAL PHOTOS OF THE SURFACE OF MARS

ELON MUSK’S SPACEX LAUNCHES NASA CREW-2 INTO ORBIT

FOR ITS NEXT TRICK, NASA’S HELICOPTER FLEW SIDEWAYS ON MARS

NASA’S MARS LANDER IS IN EMERGENCY HIBERNATION — AND IT COULD DIE 


 

Published on Jun 28, 2021