Life on Venus???

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shanek
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Life on Venus???

Post by shanek » Thu Jun 10, 2004 7:16 pm

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/05/26/life_on_venus/
The existence of life on Venus depends on what the planet was like billions of years ago. The current theory is that when the solar system was young, Venus and Earth were very much alike, and it is possible that there was even surface water on our sister planet.

If the transformation was slow enough, life may have been able to get an initial foothold, according to according to Louis Irwin of the University of Texas at El Paso. He told The BBC"It may well have been Earth-like long enough for life to either emerge or be transported there".

Once established, life on Earth has adapted to almost every available environment. On Earth, bacteria even live and reproduce in the clouds, and Caltech's Professor Andrew Ingersoll thinks that microbes might be able to do the same on Venus.

In a report submitted to the journal of Astrobiology, Professor Ingersoll suggests microbes may be able to eke out a living in the thick clouds that cloak the planet, protected from the sun by sulphur compounds. He is not alone: there is now a proposal with Nasa for a mission to go there and find out.
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Geni
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Post by Geni » Thu Jun 10, 2004 11:05 pm

Of course unless the sovit unions probes were steril there will be the question is it native?

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Quester_X
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Post by Quester_X » Thu Jun 10, 2004 11:21 pm

Interesting. Of all the planets in the solar system, I had never considered the possibility of life on Venus. I suppose it is possible though, especially given the existance on earth of bacteria that can live in boiling water and highly acidic environments.
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Post by MRC_Hans » Fri Jun 11, 2004 9:40 am

If we start by assuming that life may be based on chemical combinations that we don't se in earth life forms, then the scope for conditions in which life may exist becomes very wide. One universal requirement of life remains access to energy. The level of energy in the Venusian environment is high. Thus, although forbidding by Earth standards, the Venusian environment offers distinct possibilities for life.

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Post by Eos of the Eons » Sun Jun 13, 2004 5:13 pm

The only criteria I have ever seen in order to be called "life" is the ability to replicate. Viruses can replicate. Another is to have that dna/rna-genetic material that is passed on to the offspring.
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Tez
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Post by Tez » Sun Jun 13, 2004 11:05 pm

Would it be ethical for us to fire to Venus canisters of bacteria etc that could survive there, with a view to creating more oxygen, reducing the CO2 and so on?

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Post by Geni » Sun Jun 13, 2004 11:26 pm

Tez wrote:Would it be ethical for us to fire to Venus canisters of bacteria etc that could survive there, with a view to creating more oxygen, reducing the CO2 and so on?
Well I was recently reading a philophy magzine ( I was very board between lectures) and someones was arguing that we had ethical resposibility to thing other than life. Howver assid efrom that I can't see any reason why it woul not be ethical. Plus we may have already done it.

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Post by Reginald » Sun Jun 13, 2004 11:39 pm

Interesting item on extemophiles here.

http://www.bacteriamuseum.org/niches/ev ... iles.shtml

I realised they were hardy little things, but I didn't realise they could be that hardy.

Impressive.

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Post by shanek » Mon Jun 14, 2004 1:35 am

Tez wrote:Would it be ethical for us to fire to Venus canisters of bacteria etc that could survive there, with a view to creating more oxygen, reducing the CO2 and so on?
I would guess that if there actually were life there, then yes, it would be unethical. Venus should belong to Venusians, even if they are microscopic.

If there's no life, I say go for it.
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Post by rwald » Mon Jun 14, 2004 2:12 am

Well, though this question comes up more in reference to Mars than Venus, there are still those who oppose terraformation even given that the planet is lifeless. I believe their argument is that we should preserve that which is natural, regardless of whether or not it is biological. I'm sure I'm strawmanning the argument a bit; if someone with this opinion would care to explain it more accurately, we would all understand a bit better.
For the record, I don't actually know anything. Not even this.

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Post by Luciana » Mon Jun 14, 2004 3:59 am

Can I ask a totally lame question here?

(too late)

Has the possibility of intelligent life been already ruled out within the solar system? Not necessarily civilizations living like the Jetsons... but, well, intelligent?

Or let me rephrase it... is it possible that there is intelligent life somewhat close to us, and we have not been able to find it?

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Post by Tez » Mon Jun 14, 2004 8:37 am

Luciana wrote:Can I ask a totally lame question here?

(too late)

Has the possibility of intelligent life been already ruled out within the solar system? Not necessarily civilizations living like the Jetsons... but, well, intelligent?

Or let me rephrase it... is it possible that there is intelligent life somewhat close to us, and we have not been able to find it?
Its certainly been ruled out here on earth.

A key problem is our bias towards intelligent life having a similar "form factor" to us. If intelligent life exists in the vacuum fluctuations, spread nonlocally all around, then it could very well be near us. Seems unlikely, but one never knows. So I'd say we are pretty sure no intelligent life with a similar structure to us exists in the solar system. But if some giant Jovian clouds have intelligence, well we may lack the imagination to discover them (and they us).

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Post by MRC_Hans » Mon Jun 14, 2004 11:57 am

shanek wrote:
Tez wrote:Would it be ethical for us to fire to Venus canisters of bacteria etc that could survive there, with a view to creating more oxygen, reducing the CO2 and so on?
I would guess that if there actually were life there, then yes, it would be unethical. Venus should belong to Venusians, even if they are microscopic.

If there's no life, I say go for it.
Mmm, basically, you are right, I suppose, but why should we suddenly stop exterminating creatures that stood in our way? Smallpox bacteria have an ethical right to live in their natural habitat, too.

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Post by shanek » Mon Jun 14, 2004 1:23 pm

MRC_Hans wrote:Mmm, basically, you are right, I suppose, but why should we suddenly stop exterminating creatures that stood in our way? Smallpox bacteria have an ethical right to live in their natural habitat, too.
That was a matter of survival. Smallpox's natural habitat was us. We destroyed them in self-defense. They invaded us. Us going to Venus and wiping out the life there so we could terraform it would be the exact opposite of this.
There is an old android saying. In binary it reads: 01001001001001110110110100100000011011100110111101110100001
00000011101110110010101100001011100100110100101101110011001
1100100000011100000110000101101110011101000111001100100001. Makes you think, huh?

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Post by MRC_Hans » Mon Jun 14, 2004 1:50 pm

shanek wrote:
MRC_Hans wrote:Mmm, basically, you are right, I suppose, but why should we suddenly stop exterminating creatures that stood in our way? Smallpox bacteria have an ethical right to live in their natural habitat, too.
That was a matter of survival. Smallpox's natural habitat was us. We destroyed them in self-defense. They invaded us. Us going to Venus and wiping out the life there so we could terraform it would be the exact opposite of this.
I'm sure the smallpox critters would say approximately the same. After all, terraforming a new planet would also be a survival move for us. I'm sure we wouldn't do it just for fun (the expenses alone..).

Are you meaning to say that humanity cannot expand into space if it is at the cost of a hypothetical bacteria somewhere? And, how are we going to PROVE that Venus (or any other place) is life-less before we colonize it?

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Post by MRC_Hans » Mon Jun 14, 2004 1:55 pm

Luciana wrote:Can I ask a totally lame question here?

(too late)

Has the possibility of intelligent life been already ruled out within the solar system? Not necessarily civilizations living like the Jetsons... but, well, intelligent?

Or let me rephrase it... is it possible that there is intelligent life somewhat close to us, and we have not been able to find it?
Depends on how you define intelligence. Several kinds of apes and whales are intelligent. Within a number of definitions, there are several other intelligent life forms right here on Earth. The crucial question is: HOW intelligent?

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Post by MRC_Hans » Mon Jun 14, 2004 2:01 pm

rwald wrote:Well, though this question comes up more in reference to Mars than Venus, there are still those who oppose terraformation even given that the planet is lifeless. I believe their argument is that we should preserve that which is natural, regardless of whether or not it is biological. I'm sure I'm strawmanning the argument a bit; if someone with this opinion would care to explain it more accurately, we would all understand a bit better.
I think the weakness of that argument is that it presumes that humans are somehow not natural. We are, however, entirely natural, and it is quite natural for a species to colonize any new habitat it can.

That said, we should for our own sake consider how we best preserve natural environments. We never know when we may destroy something we will need later.

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Post by Abraxas » Mon Jun 14, 2004 4:48 pm

MRC_Hans wrote:
rwald wrote:Well, though this question comes up more in reference to Mars than Venus, there are still those who oppose terraformation even given that the planet is lifeless. I believe their argument is that we should preserve that which is natural, regardless of whether or not it is biological. I'm sure I'm strawmanning the argument a bit; if someone with this opinion would care to explain it more accurately, we would all understand a bit better.
I think the weakness of that argument is that it presumes that humans are somehow not natural. We are, however, entirely natural, and it is quite natural for a species to colonize any new habitat it can.

That said, we should for our own sake consider how we best preserve natural environments. We never know when we may destroy something we will need later.

Hans
A good example to back up MRC's statement is to look at bacteria. While we tend to view 'natural' as not having intent or purpose in its actions, we can look at bacteria as organisms that change their environment in order for them to be able to exploit it.

Many bacteria pump acids or other toxic biproducts into their environment in order for them to outcompete other species. Some create constructs out of the minerals in their surroundings and then alter the internal environments of these constructs to suit their needs. We are simply more efficiant at doing it.

The fact that we can interpret our actions is what makes us unique. But to fall into a 'natural vs. unnatural' argument blurs the issues.

Abraxas
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Post by Luciana » Mon Jun 14, 2004 6:17 pm

MRC_Hans wrote: Depends on how you define intelligence. Several kinds of apes and whales are intelligent. Within a number of definitions, there are several other intelligent life forms right here on Earth. The crucial question is: HOW intelligent?

Hans
Ok, let's settle with any intelligence. Puppy intelligence, parrot intelligence. Is there any possibility of such intelligent life in the solar system?

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Post by Hexxenhammer » Mon Jun 14, 2004 6:27 pm

Luciana wrote:
MRC_Hans wrote: Depends on how you define intelligence. Several kinds of apes and whales are intelligent. Within a number of definitions, there are several other intelligent life forms right here on Earth. The crucial question is: HOW intelligent?

Hans
Ok, let's settle with any intelligence. Puppy intelligence, parrot intelligence. Is there any possibility of such intelligent life in the solar system?
I think so. I have high hopes for wierd fishies swimming around under the ice of Europa.
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