Clouds of Venus Could Host Extraterrestrial Life Forms

In this handout image provided by NASA, the SDO satellite captures a ultra-high definition image of the Transit of Venus across the face of the sun at on June 6, 2012 from space. The last transit was in 2004 and the next pair of events will not happen again until the year 2117 and 2125. A new paper says that clouds on the planet could be key in finding life on other planets. SDO/NASA via Getty Images

In the quest to answer whether we're alone, scientists have found that the clouds of venus may help solve the mystery of whether life outside of Earth exists.

Published March 30 in the journal Astrobiology, a new paper says the clouds of Venus may host extraterrestrial microbial life. As the authors state in the paper, whether Venus' clouds could support life has been discussed for decades, spurred by research indicating that its chemical and physical properties, moderate temperatures and pressure could make it possible for life to exist.

The team was intrigued by dark patches found on the planet's clouds that are made of sulfuric acid and light-absorbing particles similar to those found on Earth. In fact, they theorized the patches could be similar to algae blooms found in our lakes, noting that particles in the patches have similar dimensions to bacteria here on Earth.

The team believes this could make Venus vital in the search for other life forms, however, the planets' clouds would need to be sampled and tested first.

"To really know, we need to go there and sample the clouds," Biological Chemist Rakesh Mogul, study co-author and professor at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, said in a statement. "Venus could be an exciting new chapter in astrobiology exploration."

This month, NASA is expected to launch a new telescope, Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS, that will search for exoplanets and could also help solve the mystery about whether there are other planets like Earth, reported the New York Times last month.

The @NASA_TESS instrument team took this picture using an engineering unit (not flight) #TESS camera of the night sky. There are #exoplanets out there that TESS, @NASA's next exoplanet hunter, will find when launched next month! #WhenILookThroughMyTelescope

— NASA_TESS (@NASA_TESS) April 1, 2018

Although it may not happen in our life time, one scientist doesn't doubt that we'll find alien life one day.

"I think that in this century we are going to be finding life beyond Earth," Astronomer Jill Tarter told attendees of the Florida Institute of Technology's Cross Cultural Management Summit, Florida Today reported.