[FPSPACE] Life on Venus - was Men on Mars (No Wimmen Allowed)
ljk4 at msn.com
Wed Feb 16 05:07:28 EST 2005
The hellish climate of Venus may have arisen far more recently than previously supposed, suggests new research. If so, pleasant Earth-like conditions probably persisted for two billion years after the planet's birth - plenty of time for life to have developed.
Venus is virtually the same size as Earth and, on average, is our nearest neighbour. Today, its atmospheric temperatures are hot enough to melt lead and concentrated sulfuric acid continuously drizzles down from thick sulphurous clouds that completely block out the Sun.
But the planet once had a climate similar to Earth's and vast oceans of water. Planetary scientists agree that period ended when Venus lost its water due to a runaway greenhouse effect, but the question is when.
Until now, the best estimate, calculated 15 years ago by James Kasting, of the Pennsylvania State University, was four billion years ago - just 600 million years after the Solar System's birth.
But new work by David Grinspoon, at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, suggests the momentous transition may have occurred much later. He points out the Kasting's estimate was just a lower limit on when the change happened, because it did not include the effect of clouds in the Venusian atmosphere.
Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2005 21:43:20 -0500 (GMT-05:00)
From: DwayneDay <zirconic1 at earthlink.net<mailto:zirconic1 at earthlink.net>>
Subject: Re: [FPSPACE] Russian: MEN WILL BE FIRST TO GO TO MARS
To: fpspace at friends-partners.org<mailto:fpspace at friends-partners.org>
From: David Lamar <David.Lamar at grc.nasa.gov<mailto:David.Lamar at grc.nasa.gov>>
Sent: Feb 11, 2005 9:44 AM
>but who in their right mind would want to send a woman to Venus?!?
And as that as an intro...
The other day I heard an interesting lecture about the possibility of life existing in the Venusian atmosphere. The atmosphere is less hot than the surface, and possesses some other attributes (like long exposure to the sun) that might make it possible for simple life to exist there. There are some key problems with the idea, such as the lack of water. But this person theorized that it is _possible_ that life could have formed there and this is something that should be investigated. He said that the ESA Venus Express spacecraft scheduled for launch next year would provide a lot more data on the Venusian atmosphere and help shed some light on this.
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