From Keith Cooper at Space.com:
Venus has long been a focus of Russian planetary science, which has the proud legacy of the record-breaking Venera space probes that landed on the Venusian surface in the late 1970s and early 1980s. [Mysterious Venus: 10 Weird Facts]
Time to bone up on Venus; probes are under developent.
With many questions remaining unanswered, the joint mission of Roscosmos and NASA, if approved, would see an orbiter launch toward Venus in 2025 with the aim to make remote-sensing observations of the planet and its atmosphere; deploy a lander on the surface; and search for future landing sites.
Now, the “life” hope is dark streaks in Venus’s clouds.
Finding life at high altitude in the atmosphere of a planet would make sense. After all, microbes have been found at similar heights in Earth’s atmosphere. The challenge for life on Venus is the planet’s extreme temperature. The surface, at 864 degrees Fahrenheit (462 degrees Celsius), is hot enough to melt lead, and the surface pressure of 92 bar is the equivalent of being almost 0.6 miles (1 km) under water.
However, in a region beginning around 31 miles (50 m) in altitude and extending 7.5 miles (12 km) outward is a sweet spot where the temperature ranges between 86 degrees F and 158 degrees F (30 degrees C and 70 degrees C), and the pressure is similar to that on Earth’s surface. Life could potentially survive in this zone where the dark-streaking UV absorber is found. More.
The project is being finalized this year.
One critical question is, if we found extreme microbes on Venus (or Mars), what kind of DNA would they have? Many questions that are currently answered by divided streams of speculation might be more refined and directed.
See also: What we know and don’t know about the origin of life
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