Scientists working at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as well as at the Universities of Cambridge and Cardiff, say there may have been life forms on the planet Venus that we have never seen before.
According to a new paper published in the publication PNAS, it is possible that these organisms produced ammonia there. It is a colorless gas composed of nitrogen and hydrogen, which can be considered as an indicator of chemical reactions indicating the compatibility of the life of our neighboring celestial body.
Ammonia is released on Earth by aquatic inhabitants. Astronomers have been trying to explain its probable traces in the upper layer of Venus’s atmosphere since the 1970s. This planet is so hot that only microbes can survive there, though not the ones we find on Earth.
A computer model created by specialists has shown that if ammonia is indeed mined on Venus, it triggers a number of chemical reactions that have the ability to neutralize ambient sulfuric acid. In a similar environment, microbes can withstand acidity more easily.
“As a rule, there should be no ammonia on Venus. It contains hydrogen, which is found in very small quantities there. Consequently, any gas that does not meet such conditions automatically gives us an excuse to suspect that maybe a living organism produced it,” the authors write.
Importantly, this also explains the high concentration of oxygen, water vapor, sulfur dioxide, and non-spherical particles in the celestial body atmosphere, which has remained a mystery to science for decades.
“If there is at least a chance of survival there, it will be an epoch-making discovery that is definitely worth the journey,” say the researchers.