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Life on Venus

Astronomers observed a huge scar on Jupiter on July 20, thought to be caused by a comet or asteroid impact. Now a similar scar has appeared on Venus. Because Venus is an inner planet, it is less likely that this scar was caused by an incoming object. However, if it is volcanic in origin, it would have been the result of an extraordinary eruption. It is also possible that it was caused by a wave of charged particles from the sun, but this is unlikely because no such wave was recorded on earth. If it is the result of a strike by space rock, it could mean that a significant number of undetected large objects are presently entering our solar system, and are reaching the inner planets. If an object large enough to cause such a scar struck earth, it would be the equivalent of the impact that ended the age of the dinosaurs. NASA has finally admitted that there's life on Mars. Now astronomers think there may also be life on Venus too (or used to be, anyway, before the recent impact), despite the fact that this planet has a climate so hot that this seems impossible.

But researchers think that microbes could survive and reproduce, experts say, floating in the thick, cloudy atmosphere, protected by a sunscreen of sulfur. In BBC News, Martin Redfern quotes researcher Andrew Intersoll as saying, "Venus is really a hellish place. If you could get through the sulfuric acid clouds down to the surface of Venus you'd find it was hotter than an oven. You could melt lead at the surface of Venus and there'd be no water."

But Venus wasn't always the hell it is now, and during an earlier climate era, life may have become established there. Redfern quotes researcher Louis Irwin as saying, "It may well have been Earth-like long enough for life to either emerge or be transported there."

And he quotes researcher David Grinspoon as saying, "One lifeform's deadly radiation may be another lifeform's lunch."

If we went to the moon (and we really did), and we're planning a trip to Mars, Venus may be next on the list in the future. Who knows what kind of life forms we'll eventually find in the universe (and what sort of wisdom they may have for us)?

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