The search for life beyond Earth has focused on Mars and the icy moons Europa and Enceladus, all of which are considered a safe haven for life due to evidence of current or past water. The surface of Venus, on the other hand, has extreme conditions that make it a nonhabitable environment to life as we know it. This is in contrast, however, to its cloud layer, which, while still an extreme environment, may prove to be a safe haven for some extreme forms of life similar to extremophiles on Earth. We consider the venusian clouds a habitable environment based on the presence of (1) a solvent for biochemical reactions, (2) appropriate physicochemical conditions, (3) available energy, and (4) biologically relevant elements. The diversity of extreme microbial ecosystems on Earth has allowed us to identify terrestrial chemolithoautotrophic microorganisms that may be analogs to putative venusian organisms. Here, we hypothesize and describe biological processes that may be performed by such organisms in the venusian clouds. To detect putative venusian organisms, we describe potential biosignature detection methods, which include metal-microbial interactions and optical methods. Finally, we describe currently available technology that can potentially be used for modeling and simulation experiments.
Предметные области OECD FOS+WOS
- 1.03.BU АСТРОНОМИЯ И АСТРОФИЗИКА
- 1.06.CU БИОЛОГИЯ
- 1.05.LE НАУКИ О ЗЕМЛЕ, МУЛЬТИДИСЦИПЛИНАРНЫЕ
- 1.05.KY ГЕОЛОГИЯ