Revision as of 06:18, 2 October 2012 by Vishesh.jain (Talk | contribs)

Venus Life

The surface of Venus constitutes perhaps the most hellish and biologically inhospitable places, boasting a pH of 0, blistering winds that can melt lead, and pressures of 60 atm. However, during the earlier years of the solar system, without the runaway greenhouse effect that has plagued the planet, Venus potentially housed oceans and perhaps even life. There is a possibility that microbes could have retreated into hospitable niches in the atmosphere, as suggested by Carl Sagan as early as 1967. 50 kilometers above the raging hell of the Venusian surface, exists a relatively temperate environment that might serve as reservoirs for life.

This astrobiology project seeks to explore life at the extremes and to theorize whether microbial communities could not only survive but also reproduce in the Venusian atmosphere. Specifically, we’re looking at life in the clouds: are aerosols viable microbial environments? Scientists have yet to confirm that this is the case on earth; while organisms have been found in clouds, aerosolized reproduction has not yet been observed. Therefore, we plan to suspend bacteria in aerosol using a modified Millikan Drop Apparatus and assay reproduction using fluorescent cell-cycle dependent reporters.

If aerosolized microbial reproduction is possible, we hope combine our results with Hell Cell to offer new insight into the viability of either engineered or naturally evolved life on the Evening Star.