by Graham Pierrepoint
The search for extra-terrestrial life has been ongoing ever since we started looking to the stars – while we may have set a few centuries aside to develop our own society and ways of living, there perhaps isn’t anyone living today who hasn’t wondered whether or not aliens exist on other planets, or in other galaxies entirely. The fact that such theories and concerns about intelligent life elsewhere in the universe haven’t been completely debunked remains the key – even huge bodies such as NASA are committed to looking for alien life in nooks and crannies of the universe where we may not have considered looking before – and recently, it seems that we need to be looking to one of the warmer planets in our very own solar system for clues.
Venus is the second-closest planet orbiting our sun, and, as such, it is of course inhospitable for humans to even visit (at present, anyway). Beyond this, research conducted and published in Astrobiology suggests that we need to be looking closely at the atmosphere surrounding the scorching planet if we want to grasp a chance at finding new life. While not ‘intelligent’ life to the extent that the human race is ‘intelligent’, researchers such as biological chemist Professor Rakesh Mogul suggest that clouds surrounding Venus are acidic in nature – made up of sulphuric acid, to be exact, and that combined with particles which actively absorb light, we could be looking at the perfect breeding ground for bacteria.
Watch: ▶ Clouds Of Venus May Be Harboring Microbial Life, Scientists Say
Such microbial life could be among the first life forms found outside of Earth and could help us to understand how alien species could sustain themselves on otherwise unfriendly planets and their atmospheres. Venus’ toxic atmosphere and intense heat – as well as pressure – make it impossible for human life to thrive there. However, there is nothing to say that microbial life can’t be responsible for producing the mysterious dark patches currently being analysed in the planet’s cloud formations.
Researchers also suggest that Venus has had an incredible amount of time to be able to evolve life forms – it is still a planet, much like the rest of the celestial bodies making up our solar system, which is yet to be fully explored – and with talk of volcanoes and intense pressures warning us to stay away, it may be some time before we can get up close and personal. Is life beyond Earth closer than we imagined? Let’s wait and see.