There May Be Life on Venus, but Here's a Good Reason We Definitely Shouldn't Seek It Out

This illustration provided by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics shows artist's renderings of planets Kepler-20e and Kepler-20f compared with Venus and the Earth. Scientists have found the two Earth-sized planets orbiting a distant star, an encouraging sign for prospects of finding life elsewhere. The discovery shows that such planets exist and that they can be detected by the Kepler spacecraft, said Francois Fressin of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass. They?re the smallest planets found so far outside the solar system. Scientists are seeking Earth-sized planets as potential homes for extraterrestrial life, said Fressin, who reports the new findings in a paper published online Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2011 by the journal Nature. (AP Photo/Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics)

 

Scientists have discovered enough of a certain gas in the atmosphere of Venus that could indicate the existence of life on the planet’s surface. This discovery has scientists curious to learn more and journalists eager to write stories that we may not be the only life even in this solar system, much less the universe.

The cynic might suggest that journalists are seeking intelligent life as a way to disprove to Christians that we aren’t God’s special creation. That there exists other, probably more developed life out there that is totally superior to our broken, hate-filled, and racist society here on earth. The cynic might also suggest that journalists are looking for clues as to how life can survive on a planet that is super hot, as though that may give us clues as to how we must adapt when global warming comes for us.

The cynic will also point out that the only other interest in space that most of these journalists have is in alternative energy provided by the heavens, even if it doesn’t always work out like they’d want it to.

Friends, I am no cynic and I am fully aware of why journalists and people all over social media appear excited about this discovery.

Venus is the hottest planet in the solar system, hotter even than Mercury, which is closest to the sun. The planet is surrounded by thick clouds of sulphuric acid and the air on the surface is so hot water absolutely cannot stay a liquid. The surface is molten in places, and entirely uninhabitable by human standards.

Venus is the hottest planet in the solar system. Although Venus is not the planet closest to the sun, its dense atmosphere traps heat in a runaway version of the greenhouse effect that warms Earth. As a result, temperatures on Venus reach 880 degrees Fahrenheit (471 degrees Celsius), which is more than hot enough to melt lead. Spacecraft have survived only a few hours after landing on the planet before being destroyed.

The atmosphere on Venus is hellish as well, consisting mainly of carbon dioxide with clouds of sulfuric acid, and only trace amounts of water. The atmosphere is heavier than that of any other planet, leading to a surface pressure that’s over 90 times that of Earth — similar to the pressure that exists 3,300 feet (1,000 meters) deep in the ocean. Incredibly, however, early in Venus’ history, the planet may have been habitable, according to models from researchers at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

The surface of Venus is extremely dry. During its evolution, ultraviolet rays from the sun evaporated water quickly, keeping the planet in a prolonged molten state. There is no liquid water on its surface today because the scorching heat created by its ozone-filled atmosphere would cause water to boil away.

It is, in short, a hellish wasteland devoid of any meaningful life or even soul. That makes it perfect for Twitter power users like our national press and activists all across the world.

If Twitter was a planet, I could think of no better example than Venus. Everything in the quoted description above is a perfect metaphor for the type of vitriol that happens there. All you have to do is look any time a political figure is trending and you’ll see it, but it doesn’t even have to be that. The whole thing is toxic and unbearable.

Most of us recognize this, and yet we stay there. Some of us out of addiction, some of us out of boredom, and some of us (like me) doing so because we embrace the chaos. But even while we recognize our addiction to it, we also have to bo conscious of what it does to us and we have to be ready to take a break as needed. It is as poisonous to us as the sulphuric clouds of Venus.

Plus, if life exists on Venus, it is life that does not matter to us in any serious sense. If it exists, it is probably some microscopic life form that can survive the high temperatures. How do I know this? I live in South Louisiana. It’s almost impossible to function in 103-degree heat with 1200% humidity. There’s no way any intelligent life can function on the surface of Venus.

Then again, with the way 2020 has been going, it could be some Rick-and-Morty level lava monsters that see our planet through the occasional hole in their atmosphere and have decided they want to eat us. That’ll probably be in November.