Jupiter’s clouds have water conditions that would allow Earth-like life to exist, but this isn’t possible in Venus’ clouds, according to the groundbreaking finding of new research led by Dr. John E. Hallsworth at Queen’s University Belfast.
For some decades, space exploration missions have looked for evidence of life beyond Earth where we know that large bodies of water, such as lakes or oceans, exist or have previously existed. However, the new research shows that it isn’t the quantity of water that matters for making life viable, but the effective concentration of water molecules–known as water activity.
The new study also deems that a previous claim that the phosphine gas in Venus’s atmosphere indicates possible life in the sulphuric acid clouds of Venus is not plausible.
“Our research shows that the sulphuric acid clouds in Venus have too little water for active life to exist, based on what we know of life on Earth,” Hallsworth said. “We have also found that the conditions of water and temperature within Jupiter’s clouds could allow microbial-type life to subsist, assuming that other requirements such as nutrients are present.
“This is a timely finding, given that NASA and the European Space Agency just announced three missions to Venus in the coming years. One of these will take measurements of Venus’s atmosphere that we will be able to compare with our finding.”
Source: Queen’s University Belfast