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View Full Version : Venusian Cloud Tops May Harbour Life



DippyHippy
2004-Jun-01, 11:05 PM
This is a serious story from the BBC...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/3746583.stm

I meant to post it a few days back when I first came upon it, but forgot :blink: Don't get excited though... you won't see any large gas bags like Sagan once imagined in a Jovian-like atmosphere, these are just microbes...

John L
2004-Jun-02, 01:31 PM
If life can survive off of hydrogen sulfide pouring out of deep sea vents then why couldn't it survive on the Venusian atmosphere's chemistry. There are bacteria living in the upper atmosphere of Earth, too, so its possible.

Deep_Eye
2004-Jun-02, 02:33 PM
There are a kind of tube-worm at the bottom of the ocean that actually get their food from the sulfur vents.

DippyHippy
2004-Jun-02, 08:56 PM
I don't doubt the theory, actually, especially since (as far as I know) the upper cloud levels would be a lot cooler than the surface. A pity it's only microbes... still, it would be interesting to know for sure! :)

GOURDHEAD
2004-Jun-02, 09:23 PM
especially since (as far as I know) the upper cloud levels would be a lot cooler than the surface

I have read, maybe from the Magellan mission site, that at the height in Venus's atmosphere where the pressure equals about one atmosphere (earth reference) the temperature is approximately zero celsius and rich in sulfuric acid. These conditions invite terraforming whether or not we have inadvertantly started it with earlier unintentional microbe deposits. In another topic we have discussed the apparent increase in oxygen in Venus's upper atmosphere.

If ultra violet light from the sun were to break down the upper level sulfuric acid would it result in H2O and SO2. Could we place in low Venus orbit a solar powered beam generator with frequency selected to convert the sulfuric acid into water, sulfur, and molecular oxygen? If so, what would be the average depth of the ocean once Venus cooled sufficiently to allow one?

DippyHippy
2004-Jun-02, 09:59 PM
Interesting, Gourd *S*

I wonder what a terra-formed Venus would be like? 50 years ago there were a lot of ideas that maybe Venus was covered with rain forests and had a lush, tropical climate... maybe there's an irony in that as the Earth's own greenhouse effect takes hold, we could reverse Venus's and set up camp there LOL

Okay, I'm delving into the realms of fantasy here, but it's fun to think about :)

Deep_Eye
2004-Jun-03, 12:29 AM
Lol. You're a card :lol:

I think that Venus would be much harder to teraform that Mars would be. Mainly because of the climate difference. Venus' days can climb to 900 degrees fahrenheit, and its nights are still over 400. Mars has climates much similar to our own, and its atmosphere (even if its not as similar to earths as Venus' is) would be easier to teraform. Mars' atmosphere is very thin, while Venus' atmosphere has a lot of sulfur and other nasty gases. Venus' atmosphere is also very thick..if a human tried to walk on Veus they'd be crushed.

DippyHippy
2004-Jun-03, 12:33 AM
Deep_Eye, terra-forming is when you change a planet and make it like Earth - therefore you wouldn't have the conditions you're describing for Venus, it would be a lot more Earth-like. Hotter, obviously, because it's closer to the Sun, but the actual atmospheric and surface conditions would be comparable to the Earth :)

Deep_Eye
2004-Jun-03, 12:46 AM
900 degree days, no liquid water, no plant life, and an unbreathable atmosphere that exhibits a pressure to great for human life are earth-like conditions?

DippyHippy
2004-Jun-03, 12:51 AM
LOL Noooooooooo... :lol:

Venus, Now, Before Terra-forming = 900 degree days, no liquid water, no plant life, and an unbreathable atmosphere that exhibits a pressure to great for human life

Venus, Future, After Terra-forming = 23 degree days (or perhaps a little higher), lots of liquid water, tons of plant life and a breathable atmosphere that exhibits a pressure about the same as Earth's.

Terra-forming is when you take an inhospitable planet and make it Earth-like :)

Deep_Eye
2004-Jun-03, 12:59 AM
Yeah I know. I must have misunderstood you.


After Terra-forming = 23 degree days (or perhaps a little higher)

When I first read that I thought "brrrr." But then I realized that you're probably talking celsius, because 23 fahrenheit is pretty chilly...in fact its 'literally' freezing! :D

zrice03
2004-Jun-03, 01:01 AM
What about this simple, one-step plan for a crude terraforming Venus: put a parasol in front of it. If you leave it there the temperature will drop. After enough time, the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will literally start to freeze out and fall to the surface.

After this is done, it would be like a planet-wide Antarctica, though we'd still need oxygen tanks to breathe. It we be a lot more hospitable than it is now. Later we could tailor it to have planets, water, etc.

Although, if there is life found on Venus, it would probably make all this legally and ethically impossible.

DippyHippy
2004-Jun-03, 01:08 AM
Deep_Eye, my apologies, I hope I didn't sound condescending, it's just that I didn't know how else to say it LOL

zrice, I've heard this idea somewhere before... but how would you do in practical terms?

GOURDHEAD
2004-Jun-03, 03:23 AM
I've heard this idea somewhere before... but how would you do in practical terms?

Venusian blinds. Orbit sheets of highly reflective metal and control their rotation about their own axes to meter the amount of the sun's energy striking the surface of Venus. I think we would not allow it to emulate Antarctica but regulate the temperature to our liking. We may be able to develop a biologically inert molecular gas that would ride near the top of Venus's atmosphere and serve the function of the Venusian blinds (not ruling out thin disk-shaped helium filled balloons with highly reflective and durable surfaces). With the proper choice of microbes that are capable of doing the heavy lifting we may be able to deplete the CO2 and H2SO4 by converting the constituents to water, molecular oxygen and carbonate and sulfate substances resulting in a mile or so depth of ocean and an atmosphere of not more than 3 Bars.

The downside is the absence of nitrogen; we can't allow a too high level concentration of O2. Maybe we can leave some CO2 in the atmosphere as an O2 buffer (requires an off switch for the microbes). Does anyone know how to make quantative guesses at the amount of water that can be wrung out of the H2SO4 and the amount (bars) of atmosphere that will remain after 50 years of CO2 being flushed out by rain to combine with the sulfates and silicates?


I think that Venus would be much harder to teraform that Mars would be

Not necessarily. Venus has an acceptable mass and the right elements to build oceans and an atmosphere of comfortable pressure whereas Mars needs much more mass added to acquire enough gravity to retain an atmosphere and an ocean. However, Mars could be colonized,but not terraformed, using hermetically sealed facilities more easily than Venus.

TheThorn
2004-Jun-04, 04:17 AM
If you're going to dedicate a thread like this to ExtraSense, you have to do it up right! None of this fooling around talking about the drivel those liars at NASA keep spouting, you have to analyze the pictured for yourself!

So look at these pictures of Venus.

The first one clearly shows Giant Pterosaurs gliding through the upper part of the Venusian atmosphere:

http://www3.sympatico.ca/rickmcf/_40194777_venus_nasa_203long.jpg

See the Pterosaurs! So dynosaurs still exist on Venus. I guess Venus has never been hit by a giant asteroid!

And this one:

http://www3.sympatico.ca/rickmcf/_40194797_venussurf_nasa_203.jpg

See the palm trees and coconuts? And lions and walruses too! It's amazing! The place is crawling with life, and NASA has been hiding it from us!!!!!

damienpaul
2004-Jun-04, 09:54 AM
LMAO brilliant stuff!!!

But also notice the ice cream vendor on the hills!!! the vendor is reading Readers Digest!!!! its them, Readers Digest are behind the conspracy!!!

John L
2004-Jun-04, 01:23 PM
:P :P I see them!!! :P :P

TheThorn
2004-Jun-04, 04:36 PM
Damn! How did I miss the Readers Digest - Ice Cream vendor connection. This stuff goes much deeper than meets the eye!

StarLab
2004-Jun-04, 05:51 PM
Aww, look, that sweet ice cream vendor is giving a vanilla ice cream cone to that little baby pterosaur..how sweet. :P :rolleyes: :D

DippyHippy
2004-Jun-04, 11:57 PM
LOL Okay, I guess I asked for that... but can we please get back on topic? :)

damienpaul
2004-Jun-10, 08:46 AM
oh you love it Dips!

Triasnova
2009-May-04, 07:37 PM
I would actually use a natural tool of change to alter the atmosphere. If you apply what we understand about ecosystems and how they are interconnected all we would have to do is find the bottom of the link to chain together what is necessary to alter the conditions to be more favorable. To do any thing else would be unethical and cause an imbalance we would have to fix later to prevent further deterioration. To be honest the simplest thing would be to add our own bacterium to the atmosphere and see what happens from there.

Triasnova
2009-May-04, 07:52 PM
I would like to bring up the fact that space however distant has not been alone in our ambitions. We as humans have always been prone to conquer what we are told is denied us. Then we take what we like and leave the rest to rot in the sun until it is found by someone else to try and figure out what it really was in the first place. Dont be surprised that when we do finally get out there it isnt at all the frontier we are told it to be.

Argos
2009-May-04, 07:59 PM
you won't see any large gas bags like Sagan once imagined in a Jovian-like atmosphere,

Thatīs from A. Clarke, IIRC.

rommel543
2009-May-05, 05:48 PM
We don't need to get rid of the sulfuric acid, the atmosphere and heat will do that for us. We need to get rid of the sulfur dioxide, or carbon dioxide to stop the cycle.

From wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sulfuric_acid):


Sulfuric acid is produced in the upper atmosphere of Venus by the Sun's photochemical action on carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and water vapor. Ultraviolet photons of wavelengths less than 169 nm can photodissociate carbon dioxide into carbon monoxide and atomic oxygen.
Atomic oxygen is highly reactive. When it reacts with sulfur dioxide, a trace component of the Venusian atmosphere, the result is sulfur trioxide, which can combine with water vapor, another trace component of Venus's atmosphere, to yield sulfuric acid.
CO2 → CO + O
SO2 + O → SO3
SO3 + H2O → H2SO4
In the upper, cooler portions of Venus's atmosphere, sulfuric acid exists as a liquid, and thick sulfuric acid clouds completely obscure the planet's surface when viewed from above. The main cloud layer extends from 45–70 km above the planet's surface, with thinner hazes extending as low as 30 and as high as 90 km above the surface.
The permanent Venusian clouds produce a concentrated acid rain, as the clouds in the atmosphere of Earth produce water rain.
The atmosphere exhibits a sulfuric acid cycle. As sulfuric acid rain droplets fall down through the hotter layers of the atmosphere's temperature gradient, they are heated up and release water vapor, becoming more and more concentrated. When they reach temperatures above 300°C, sulfuric acid begins to decompose into sulfur trioxide and water, both in the gas phase. Sulfur trioxide is highly reactive and dissociates into sulfur dioxide and atomic oxygen, which oxidizes traces of carbon monoxide to form carbon dioxide.
Sulfur dioxide and water vapor rise on convection currents from the mid-level atmospheric layers to higher altitudes, where they will be transformed again into sulfuric acid, and the cycle repeats.

If in the mid-level areas (not the upper atmosphere) we can stop the sulfur dioxide from re-entering the system then it should clear the atmosphere on its own. If you could somehow seed with hydrogen sulphide, you could generate elemental sulfur and more water. You would then need to capture the sulfur before it reacts with the water again on the ground.

Being that the atmosphere is ~96% CO2, we would need to knock it down to at least ~70% with that 20% being turned into oxygen to somewhat match earths atmosphere. If the sulfur dioxide could be cleared out and water produced, then you could seed the water with plankton and bacteria that absorb CO2. I think even if we could remove than much CO2, we would have issues with controlling the temperature in the atmosphere. We would either have to fine some way of replacing the CO2 with another gas (like Nitrogen) or let the planet increase it's oxygen content to over 50%