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[Slashdot] - No Hope For Life In Venus Clouds, But Maybe On Jupiter, Study Suggests

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The amount of water in the atmosphere of Venus is so low that even the most drought-tolerant of Earth's microbes wouldn't be able to survive there, a new study has found. However, the researchers looked at data from other planets too and found that the clouds of Jupiter do provide sufficient water activity to theoretically support life. Space.com reports: The new study looked at measurements from probes that flew through the atmosphere of Venus and acquired data about temperature, humidity and pressure in the thick sulphuric acid clouds surrounding the planet. From these values, the scientists were able to calculate the so-called water activity, the water vapor pressure inside the individual molecules in the clouds, which is one of the limiting factors for the existence of life on Earth. The findings are likely a disappointment for the Venus research community, which was invigorated last September by the discovery of phosphine, a compound made of atoms of phosphorus and hydrogen that on Earth can be associated with living organisms, in Venus' atmosphere. At that time, researchers suggested the phosphines may be produced by microorganisms residing in those clouds. On Earth [...] microorganisms can survive and proliferate in droplets of water in the atmosphere when temperatures allow. However, the findings of the new study, based on data from several Venus probes, leave zero chance of anything living in the clouds of Venus [...]. However, the researchers looked at data from other planets too and found that the clouds of Jupiter do provide sufficient water activity to theoretically support life. Data collected by the Galileo probe at altitudes between 26 and 42 miles (42 and 68 kilometers) above the surface of the gas giant suggest the water activity value to sit at 0.585, just above the survivable threshold. Temperatures in this region are also just about survivable, at around minus 40 degrees F. High levels of ultraviolet radiation or lack of nutrients could, however, prevent that potential life from thriving, the researchers said, and completely new measurements would be needed to find whether it actually could be there or not.

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