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The Case (or Not) for Life in the Venusian Clouds

by 1,2,3,4
1
Astrobiology Research Group, Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics (ZAA), Technische Universität Berlin, Hardenbergstr. 36, 10623 Berlin, Germany
2
German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ), Section Geomicrobiology, 14473 Potsdam, Germany
3
Department of Experimental Limnology, Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries, (IGB), 12587 Stechlin, Germany
4
School of the Environment, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99163, USA
Academic Editor: Jay Nadeau
Life 2021, 11(3), 255; https://doi.org/10.3390/life11030255
Received: 7 March 2021 / Revised: 16 March 2021 / Accepted: 17 March 2021 / Published: 20 March 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbial Life in the Solar System)
The possible detection of the biomarker of phosphine as reported by Greaves et al. in the Venusian atmosphere stirred much excitement in the astrobiology community. While many in the community are adamant that the environmental conditions in the Venusian atmosphere are too extreme for life to exist, others point to the claimed detection of a convincing biomarker, the conjecture that early Venus was doubtlessly habitable, and any Venusian life might have adapted by natural selection to the harsh conditions in the Venusian clouds after the surface became uninhabitable. Here, I first briefly characterize the environmental conditions in the lower Venusian atmosphere and outline what challenges a biosphere would face to thrive there, and how some of these obstacles for life could possibly have been overcome. Then, I discuss the significance of the possible detection of phosphine and what it means (and does not mean) and provide an assessment on whether life may exist in the temperate cloud layer of the Venusian atmosphere or not. View Full-Text
Keywords: Venus; life; atmosphere; clouds; extreme environment Venus; life; atmosphere; clouds; extreme environment
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MDPI and ACS Style

Schulze-Makuch, D. The Case (or Not) for Life in the Venusian Clouds. Life 2021, 11, 255. https://doi.org/10.3390/life11030255

AMA Style

Schulze-Makuch D. The Case (or Not) for Life in the Venusian Clouds. Life. 2021; 11(3):255. https://doi.org/10.3390/life11030255

Chicago/Turabian Style

Schulze-Makuch, Dirk. 2021. "The Case (or Not) for Life in the Venusian Clouds" Life 11, no. 3: 255. https://doi.org/10.3390/life11030255

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