“When we looked at the effective concentration of water molecules in those clouds, we found that it was a hundred times too low for even the most resilient Earth organisms to survive.” John Hallsworth, a microbiologist at Queen’s University in Belfast, U.K., and lead author of the paper, said in a news conference on Thursday (June 24). “That’s an unbridgeable distance.”
The findings are likely a disappointment for the Venus research community, which was invigorated last September by the discovery of phosphine, a compound made of atoms of phosphorus and hydrogen that on Earth can be associated with living organisms, in Venus’ atmosphere. At that time, researchers suggested the phosphines may be produced by microorganisms residing in those clouds.Teresa Pultarova, “No hope for life in Venus clouds, but maybe on Jupiter, study suggests” at Space.com
Phosphine? Okay, here: Sabine Hossenfelder asks, whatever happened to life on Venus?
However, the researchers looked at data from other planets too and found that the clouds of Jupiter do provide sufficient water activity to theoretically support life. Data collected by the Galileo probe at altitudes between 26 and 42 miles (42 and 68 kilometers) above the surface of the gas giant suggest the water activity value to sit at 0.585, just above the survivable threshold. Temperatures in this region are also just about survivable, at around minus 40 degrees F.Teresa Pultarova, “No hope for life in Venus clouds, but maybe on Jupiter, study suggests” at Space.com
If we could only just find one surviving life form — even if it came from Earth.