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otakenji
2012-Jan-22, 05:37 PM
I am very skeptical about the claims made by this solitary Russian Scientist, Leonid Ksanfomaliti.

It looks to me to be an instrument cover and a shadow.

http://en.rian.ru/science/20120120/170865269.html

"Extraordinary Claims require Extraordinary Evidence"... Carl Sagan

Rhaedas
2012-Jan-22, 06:14 PM
That's exactly what it is.

A quick google turned up this site, which does a nice job of covering the Soviet probes work, as well as some versions of the scans in different perspective.
http://www.mentallandscape.com/C_CatalogVenus.htm

Given that some of the cleaned up photos used the merging of several passes to make up for lost transmission, I would say that if there was something moving around, someone would have pointed that out a long time ago.

Colin Robinson
2012-Jan-23, 12:46 AM
The Novosti report doesn't actually indicate which bits of the photo have been compared to a "disk", a "black flap", and a "scorpion".

What I find interesting about the report, is the part about objects "changing location on different photos". To see whether this is true, you would have to look at the different photos in question, not just at one photo.

If it can be confirmed that objects or features in the photos are "changing location", that would be a very interesting observation, but would not necessarily prove they are alive. One conceivable alternative hypothesis that comes to mind -- could it be a case of non-living objects getting shifted about by wind currents in very thick atmosphere?

Rhaedas
2012-Jan-23, 12:55 AM
Indeed. I didn't see any changes in the photos, but slow wind in a dense atmosphere could have moved around things like the camera protection shroud that was dropped, even if it was heavy.

R.A.F.
2012-Jan-23, 01:26 AM
From the title of this thread, I though that a Russian scientist had been spotted on Venus.

Rhaedas
2012-Jan-23, 01:34 AM
Makes Siberia look good, doesn't it?

KaiYeves
2012-Jan-23, 01:44 AM
From the title of this thread, I though that a Russian scientist had been spotted on Venus.
Heh.

Colin Robinson
2012-Jan-23, 02:27 AM
A page with an additional photo (as well as the one in the OP link)

http://yourtubenews.ning.com/forum/topics/life-spotted-on-venus-russian-scientist

Gomar
2012-Jan-23, 02:32 AM
From the title of this thread, I though that a Russian scientist had been spotted on Venus.

What? Has Venus Williams started making out with Russian scientists? I am sure he was searching for life on her 2 planets.

Rhaedas
2012-Jan-23, 03:08 AM
A page with an additional photo (as well as the one in the OP link)

http://yourtubenews.ning.com/forum/topics/life-spotted-on-venus-russian-scientist

Oh dear. The second photo is zoomed in and pixelated, and then artifacts circled. We've seen this stuff before.

Colin Robinson
2012-Jan-23, 04:11 AM
Is it possible some of us are rushing to judgement a little too quickly?

The OP described Leonid Ksanfomaliti as a "solitary Russian scientist". The fact remains that a bunch of other Russian space scientists -- the people who put together the journal Solar System Research (Astronomicheskii Vestnik) (http://www.maik.ru/cgi-perl/journal.pl?lang=eng&name=solsys&page=board) -- have reportedly chosen to publish Ksanfomaliti's findings.

And whatever you think of Russian scientists, they have a history of giving specialist attention to the planet Venus.

ravens_cry
2012-Jan-23, 05:55 AM
Life or not, I love looking at those surface photos of Venus, especially the perspective view. These are pictures of the surface of one of the most literally hellish places in the solar system.
That's just so cool it just makes me grin from ear to ear.

otakenji
2012-Jan-23, 06:09 AM
I do not see freakin' anything that smacks of macroscopic life in the original and the reprocessed images. Just because it was published in an Russian lab does not make it pass muster with peer-to-peer scrutiny in the international astrobiology community.. I hope that image processing specialists at NASA/JPL will chime in on this.

16204

otakenji
2012-Jan-23, 06:57 AM
From the title of this thread, I though that a Russian scientist had been spotted on Venus.

the thread title came straight from RSS Novosti verbatum

tnjrp
2012-Jan-23, 07:32 AM
I'd like to see the original article, to start with.

I've gotten the impression that the (Western) astrobiology crowd is of a mind that if life exists on Venus at all, it is probably in the atmosphere, not on the surface.

Colin Robinson
2012-Jan-23, 11:45 AM
I'd like to see the original article, to start with.

That would certainly be more sensible than trying to judge the article on the basis of a brief press report.


I've gotten the impression that the (Western) astrobiology crowd is of a mind that if life exists on Venus at all, it is probably in the atmosphere, not on the surface.

That is my impression too. As I understand it, the point is that temperatures in the upper atmosphere are a lot lower, and there is plenty of moisture in the clouds, albeit acidic moisture. The surface is generally considered too dry and far too hot.

Yet, it may be worth remembering that the first confirmed exo-planet was not found where planets were expected -- on the contrary, it was found orbiting a neutron star, and theory at the time said neutron stars shouldn't have planets.

If Leonid Ksanfomaliti turns out to be right, then the first discovery of ET life will likewise have been in a place almost no-one expected it...

DonM435
2012-Jan-23, 02:50 PM
From the title of this thread, I though that a Russian scientist had been spotted on Venus.

I thought it meant they's seen a leopard there.

marsbug
2012-Jan-23, 03:44 PM
That would certainly be more sensible than trying to judge the article on the basis of a brief press report.



That is my impression too. As I understand it, the point is that temperatures in the upper atmosphere are a lot lower, and there is plenty of moisture in the clouds, albeit acidic moisture. The surface is generally considered too dry and far too hot.

Yet, it may be worth remembering that the first confirmed exo-planet was not found where planets were expected -- on the contrary, it was found orbiting a neutron star, and theory at the time said neutron stars shouldn't have planets.

If Leonid Ksanfomaliti turns out to be right, then the first discovery of ET life will likewise have been in a place almost no-one expected it...

On general principles I'd agree, but it doesn't sound like this is the real deal - though I've not looked much into beyond the press report.

otakenji
2012-Jan-23, 11:38 PM
I'd like to see the original article, to start with.

I've gotten the impression that the (Western) astrobiology crowd is of a mind that if life exists on Venus at all, it is probably in the atmosphere, not on the surface.

Me too, but unfortunately it is not available yet in English nor on the Springer site. So we have to depend on the few journalists who have written about it.
It is not even available online in Russian either.

Colin Robinson
2012-Jan-24, 01:37 AM
Me too, but unfortunately it is not available yet in English nor on the Springer site. So we have to depend on the few journalists who have written about it.
It is not even available online in Russian either.

Here at least is a more detailed online discussion and critique of the paper, by Emily Lakdawalla of the Planetary Society. She also gives background about Ksanfomaliti's scientific career. Apparently he designed instruments for the Venera missions which first demonstrated that Venus has intense lightning storms. Lakdawalla's bottom line, though, is that she considers that this time Ksanfomaliti is dead wrong...

http://www.planetary.org/blog/article/00003338/

Rhaedas
2012-Jan-24, 02:02 AM
Good find. I think she's right on target. I also agree with her, the next goal for Venus should be the atmosphere...that's likely the best chance for finding anything.

otakenji
2012-Jan-24, 02:24 AM
I know I was going to have to wait for the business day, Monday, to come around for the professionals to chime in on this.
Here is another link debunking the claim:
http://www.lifeslittlemysteries.com/2091-life-venus-russian-claim.html

KaiYeves
2012-Jan-24, 02:43 AM
Life or not, I love looking at those surface photos of Venus, especially the perspective view. These are pictures of the surface of one of the most literally hellish places in the solar system.
That's just so cool it just makes me grin from ear to ear.
I know! And those probes only lasted a few hours, that's how crazy a place Venus is! I always think that's really cool.

Van Rijn
2012-Jan-24, 04:18 AM
Here at least is a more detailed online discussion and critique of the paper, by Emily Lakdawalla of the Planetary Society. She also gives background about Ksanfomaliti's scientific career. Apparently he designed instruments for the Venera missions which first demonstrated that Venus has intense lightning storms. Lakdawalla's bottom line, though, is that she considers that this time Ksanfomaliti is dead wrong...

http://www.planetary.org/blog/article/00003338/

Ah, I was wondering why this was getting attention - there have been plenty of similar claims about Mars (heck, about every rock on Mars is supposed to be an artifact or fossil or plant or something) and even the Moon. Quoting from her article:


The story is so obviously ridiculous that I would ordinarily not give it a second thought. But one thing gave me pause, and that's the author. Leonid Ksanfomaliti is a senior statesman of Russian planetary science.

Anyway, from reading the article, all I can say is I suppose it was inevitable that Venus get its share of this thinking too.

tnjrp
2012-Jan-24, 09:02 AM
Maybe it's a case of "a senior statesman is only two letters removed from a senile statesman".

novaderrik
2012-Jan-24, 09:47 AM
this reminds me of the "bunny rabbit" found on Mars by Spirit shortly after it landed.. i recall that it was a part of the parachute or something and some "special people" on the internet latched onto the tongue-in-cheek JPL press release about it and it was news for a day or two..

Daffy
2012-Jan-24, 02:03 PM
Maybe it's a case of "a senior statesman is only two letters removed from a senile statesman".

Yeah, ridicule is always good.

Colin Robinson
2012-Jan-25, 01:02 AM
One thing that I did NOT find in Emily Lakdawalla's critique -- the idea that Ksanfomaliti mistook a fallen lens cap for a living thing.

That particular charge against him may be the online equivalent of an urban myth. Various people glanced at the picture in the press report, noticed an intriguing large crescent shape in the middle, did some checking to establish that it is a lens cap... but did they bother to check whether that was actually one of the features Ksanfomaliti talks about specifically in his paper?

Rhaedas
2012-Jan-25, 01:13 AM
I assume you are referring to commentary on other sites. I blame that on lack of science education of the general public, but also the media who use whatever stock pictures they have (I think one wasn't even the right mission). The first article linked had one of those generic pictures. It was only a later one that showed a pixelated and circled picture, and then one could gather what at least some of the evidence he was trying to use was.

Colin Robinson
2012-Jan-25, 01:57 AM
I assume you are referring to commentary on other sites. I blame that on lack of science education of the general public, but also the media who use whatever stock pictures they have (I think one wasn't even the right mission). The first article linked had one of those generic pictures. It was only a later one that showed a pixelated and circled picture, and then one could gather what at least some of the evidence he was trying to use was.

Right now a Google search for "Venus life lens cap" gets 195,000 results. You're right -- this has happened, in the first place because the Novosti report was accompanied by a picture in which nothing was circled or arrowed, therefore people could only guess at where in the picture the life-forms were supposed to be.

whimsyfree
2012-Jan-25, 03:43 AM
Good find. I think she's right on target. I also agree with her, the next goal for Venus should be the atmosphere...that's likely the best chance for finding anything.

I like the idea of a Venus flyer even though I think the probability of finding life there is practically zero.

otakenji
2012-Jan-25, 06:53 AM
The reason Emily gave it attention in her blog is because a respected planetary scientist wrote the paper. That is what generates the attention. Remember the Mars Meteorite and how much press attention it got?

tnjrp
2012-Jan-25, 07:48 AM
Yeah, ridicule is always good.And getting ones knickers in a twist over somebody one doesn't know slighting somebody else one equally doesn't know is ever popular.

ravens_cry
2012-Jan-25, 08:37 AM
The most evidence I know of for life on Venus is the existence of gases in the atmosphere that are extremely difficult to synthesize inorganically and ones that would have long ago been compounded; meaning some process, organic or inorganic, is synthesising them.
Unfortunately, this is very circumstantial at best.
Venus, despite some excellent exploration programs is still a very unexplored place, with undoubtedly many mysteries left to uncover.
But I don't think this is one of them.

astromark
2012-Jan-25, 08:49 AM
... I see the lens cap. Is there some thing else ? Was this fellow so wrong or just not understood ?

It seems like a lot of hot air over nothing at all.. comments please..

Colin Robinson
2012-Jan-25, 09:14 AM
... I see the lens cap. Is there some thing else ? Was this fellow so wrong or just not understood ?

It seems like a lot of hot air over nothing at all.. comments please..

Ksanfomaliti may be both misunderstood, and wrong as well. Please read the critical review of his paper by Emily Lakdawalla of the Planetary Society -- the review includes pictures, with arrows pointing at features which Ksanfomaliti mentioned in his article...

http://www.planetary.org/blog/article/00003338/

Judging by the review, Ksanfomaliti used software from a very well-known company to zoom some very small details in the Venera pictures, and apparently confused noise with signal.

If so, he was seriously wrong... But not so wrong as if he (one of the team who designed the Venera equipment) had confused the lens cap of Venera probe with a Venusian life-form...

joema
2012-Jan-30, 11:04 PM
I know! And those probes only lasted a few hours, that's how crazy a place Venus is! I always think that's really cool.
Actually the first two space probes to attempt landing on venus (Venera 3 & 4) were crushed by the pressure long before reaching the surface.

The atmosphere is nearly pure CO2 with a surface pressure of about 1,400 PSI -- the same pressure as 1/2 mile beneath the ocean. The temperature is about 900F, hot enough to melt lead and zinc. Carl Sagan said "Venus is the one place in the solar system most like hell."

The conditions on Venus are far more rigorous than medical autoclaves we used to sterilize instruments. It's hard to imagine even microbial life there, much less something like a scorpion.