Researchers have just published bad news about Venus. They say the clouds over Venus don’t contain enough water to sustain life even for organisms that are adapted to survive in Earth’s harshest environments.
It dashed hopes of finding life on Venus, according to the Daily Mail.
Scientists at Queens University in Belfast (UK) have come to the sad conclusion that life cannot exist on Venus after measuring water activity on “this hellish planet”. They were published in the journal Nature Astronomy.
Accordingly, water activity (Aw) is defined as the ratio of the vapor pressure of water in the material divided by the evaporation pressure of pure water at the same temperature conditions.
This index is a measure of the extent to which water is accessible to living organisms, namely microorganisms.
Typically, water activity is used to assess the sustainability of foods. For example, increasing the “humidity” of food will facilitate the growth of pathogenic bacteria, thereby reducing shelf life. Water activity can also be used as a criterion for the viability of life in the environment.
The scientists used data from interplanetary probes and determined the activity of water in the atmosphere of Venus, where the majority of the clouds are droplets of sulfuric acid.
The results show that the index is less than or equal to 0.004, while limiting the minimum number of bipolar organisms (organisms that thrive under extreme physical or geochemical conditions that can easily damage many plants the fraction of life on Earth) known to science so far is 0.585.
In other words, the amount of water available in the atmosphere of Venus is 100 times less than the amount of water necessary for the survival of any living being.
Venus is a planet the size of Earth, but has a surface temperature of around 464 degrees Celsius and a pressure 92 times that of our blue planet. Scientists believe that Venus was probably only habitable 700 million years ago. But today, Venus is just a world of extreme heat, extremely high atmospheric pressure, and corrosive acid clouds.
These data refute the hypothesis that microorganisms could be present on Venus due to the unusual levels of phosphine discovered in 2019 on the planet.
A group of scientists then overlooked the amount of sulfur dioxide in Venus’ atmosphere, and suggested that the characteristic strong radio signal at a frequency of 266.94 gigahertz produces large amounts of phosphine. the activity of living organisms. This anomaly was later admitted as erroneous by other researchers.
Study author Dr John E Hallsworth of the School of Biological Sciences at Queen’s University Belfast said: “It’s (water activity) is almost at the bottom of the scale and it is a gap that cannot be saved. from what living things need to survive. “